Tim Kaine: Trump tariffs causing uncertainty for major Virginia employers
Today in a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on the impact of tariffs on U.S. autoworkers, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine raised concerns about the negative effects President Trump’s trade war is having on several major employers in Virginia and the ripple effect that could have across the Commonwealth.
In the hearing, Kaine cited the CEO of the Port of Virginia who recently said that the Trump tariffs could “significantly put our infrastructure advancements at risk.” Kaine also shared how, as Governor, he encouraged Volkswagen to relocate its North America headquarters to Virginia. Kaine cited conversations he’s had recently with Volkswagen executives who are concerned about how Trump’s tariffs are going to affect their business because of the uncertainty the escalating trade war is creating.
Lastly, he discussed concerns he has heard from employees at the Volvo Trucks plant in Dublin, Virginia over the impact of steel and aluminum tariffs.
“As a mayor and governor, I love certainty. I feel like if we can give people certainty, they can figure out in the private sectors, or our public planners, how to adjust around it. Even if they don’t like the certainty that we’re giving them they can adjust around it. But it’s really hard to adjust around an asterisk or a question mark. And so I would like to ask you first about kind of the uncertainty effect of all this. What’s the end game? What’s the off ramp? Where are we going? We’ve not really had the Administration come here and brief us on where they think we’re going to get with this,” Kaine said.
In response, the witnesses, who each specialize in auto manufacturing or economics, agreed that uncertainty is painful for employers and employees. John Bozella, President & CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, explained that “uncertainty is hugely problematic” and “a killer” as manufacturers compete globally.
For months, Kaine has spoken out against the Trump Administration’s escalation of rhetoric and actions that have now led to trade wars around the world.Estimates show that the Trump Administration’s aluminum and steel tariffs and the retaliatory actions they caused could cost the United States 400,000 jobs, including nearly 11,000 in Virginia alone. President Trump has tweeted that “trade wars are good.”