“These tariffs add to the cost of many goods that American consumers buy,” Cohen told CNN.
“In general, some tariffs make sense. But a lot of tariffs only serve as consumption tax,” he said.
“There are a variety of opinions about trade. My view on trade is very simple. If we manufacture something here in the United States, we have to protect our manufacturers,” Cohen told CNN. “If we don’t make something here in the United States, and we won’t make it here in the United States, I don’t think we should put tariffs on it.”
It won’t solve inflation
“If you get rid of those tariffs, the price of those goods should go down,” Cohen said.
However, he conceded that this would not be a panacea for inflation, which worsened unexpectedly in May.
“There is not one thing that will solve the problem of inflation. We have to do as many things as possible to try to bring prices down,” he said.
Of course, there are bipartisan concerns about China’s trade practices. Tariff removal could undermine efforts to tackle problems such as intellectual property theft, illegal subsidies and dumping of cheap products in foreign markets.
Asked whether rolling back tariffs would reward China for failing to meet its end of the agreement, Cohen responded.
“Are we rewarding China? Are we rewarding American citizens because they will buy these goods no matter what and we are taking more disposable income out of their hands,” Cohen said.
Control our destiny
“It is clear that chips and computer chips are now the primary limiting factor that goes into many of the goods that we all need as American consumers. They affect us in almost every part of our daily lives,” Cohen said. “It starts from the country’s security and military equipment, right down to our everyday devices that we have on our work surfaces and everything in between.”
A shortage of computer chips has derailed cars, driving up prices for both new and used cars, and contributing to today’s high inflation.
Cohen noted that the United States relies on Taiwan and China for the vast majority of advanced computer chips, including semiconductors that go into weapons systems and aircraft.
“We need to bring manufacturing back here in the United States so that we can control our supply chain and we can control our own destiny,” Cohen said.
The Senate passed legislation last summer to spend $52 billion on computer chip manufacturing and research in the United States. The funding has yet to be signed into law and lawmakers are still haggling over the details.
“Buffers are needed to create and defend American jobs,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter.
However, Cohn argued that these restrictions would discourage companies from investing in America.
“If we put up those barriers, what unfortunately will happen is that American companies are not going to take the money,” Cohen said. “They will take money from foreign governments and they will build their facilities in foreign countries.”