Oakland Expresses Tariff Concerns

In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle voiced concern over the ongoing trade war with China and that tariffs posed by both countries will harm the US economy and his customers’ access to a major export market.

“We remain concerned about the impact that tariffs will have on the health of our economy,” Lytle said. “To the extent that other countries are stepping in to provide goods that are exported by US businesses to China, the long-term potential for domestic companies to access one of the world’s largest consumer markets will be severely hindered.”

Lytle joined 600 other US business leaders is signing a second letter to President Trump, whose Administration is looking to add more tariffs against China.

Over a third of Oakland’s total trade volume comes from China, and a large number of US farm exports are especially vulnerable to Chinese tariffs.

“The Port of Oakland continues to hear from our partners in the supply chain about specific impacts to their unique sectors,” Lytle said. “It’s clear that the overall negative long-term potential impacts of these tariffs on the international movement of agricultural products, manufactured goods, household items and retail products is real.”

Lytle also asked the Trump Administration not to impose tariffs on cargo-handling equipment produced in China. Next year, Shanghai-based ZPMC is expected to deliver three new ship-to-shore cranes to the port’s largest marine terminal.

“There is not a comparable domestic producer of ship-to-shore cranes,” Mr. Lytle explained. “Tariffs could severely impede and/or prevent our marine terminal partners from making the critical infrastructure investments needed to adapt to the changing international trade landscape.”

By Karen Robes Meeks