DFW companies on escalating trade war: ‘The fear is it continues to get worse’

Cornyn: NAFTA 2.0 may be “impossible” with Trump’s tariffs

Texas Sen. John Cornyn says President Donald Trump's renegotiated NAFTA is hitting headwinds in the Senate thanks to tariffs lawmakers from both parties don't like, April 2, 2019.
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Texas Sen. John Cornyn says President Donald Trump's renegotiated NAFTA is hitting headwinds in the Senate thanks to tariffs lawmakers from both parties don't like, April 2, 2019.

For Ralph Bradley, the escalating tariffs between the United States and China have real-world consequences.

Bradley, CEO of Fort Worth-based Jammy Inc., an automotive and trailer lighting company, estimated that he might be forced to increase his prices by 7% to 10% after President Donald Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods up to 25% on Friday.

China sparked fears of a growing trade war Monday by announcing $60 billion in tariffs against some U.S. products.

“The fear is that it continues to get worse and that Congress doesn’t do anything to curb the executive branch to do as it pleases,” Bradley said.

Bradley said his company has invested “tens of millions of dollars” at a plant in China. To ask companies like his to start manufacturing their products in the U.S. isn’t feasible, Bradley said.

“It’s an impossible task for some people,” Bradley said.

He hopes the two countries back away from higher tariffs and reach an agreement before the June 1 date for them to be imposed.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a national campaign comprised of more than 150 trade organizations, said Texas companies paid an extra $2.6 billion in import taxes from February 2018 to March 2019. Meanwhile, Texas exports faced an estimated $860 million in tariffs from March 2018 to March 2019, the group said.

U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, a Republican from Arlington, stood firm with President Donald Trump during an appearance Monday at Demilec, an Arlington-based spray-foam insulation company that has about 90 employees.

A company spokeswoman said Demilec is not affected by the tariffs.

Wright expressed sympathy for those impacted by the tariffs but said the tough stance was necessary.

“Nobody wants a trade war,” Wright said. “Most of the time nobody wins it. However, we know that China — their entire economy is based on stolen technology.”

Wright was elected to the 6th Congressional seat in November. The district includes most of Arlington, Mansfield and all of Ellis and Navarro counties. He said he does not know how many businesses in his district are affected by the new tariffs.

“I support the president in terms of his approach to China as disconcerting as it is to a lot of people,” Wright said. “It could result in certain consumer products being higher — I don’t know if it will but it could. What needs to happen is China needs to realize that the United States will no longer accept the way they do business — not just with us but the rest of the world.”

Chelsey Thiebaud, CFO of Riverside, Calif.-based TEK Industries, which has a fabrication plant in Fort Worth, said tariffs have already affected the company’s metal roofing business.

It has laid off two employees and has looked at other ways to cut costs since a 25% tariff was placed on steel manufactured in China. It also hired a law firm to ask for an exclusion from the tariffs.

While Thiebaud’s company does not face much competition domestically, she worries that potential customers could be affected by increased costs on other products.

Speaking to the NE Tarrant Tea Party Oct. 17, 2018, Republican Ron Wright, who is running to replace Rep. Joe Barton, vows to join a conservative club on Capitol Hill.

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