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Rick Helfenbein said the move to ratchet up tariffs with Beijing will most certainly mean higher prices for consumers.
“Five hundred and fifty billion dollars, all you have to do is do the math, divide it by the number of days, the number of hours comes up to a million dollars a minute,” he said. “And then you are going to tariff that at twenty-five percent ... ten percent?”
Beijing responded to Trump's latest tariff announcement on Monday by allowing the yuan to fall to its lowest levels in more than a decade.
Although Helfenbein said he applauds the president for taking a strong stance on China’s trade practices, he said the trade association feels like a pawn in an international chess game that will eventually hurt both the consumer and the economy.
“We asked the [White House] time and time again, please, please, please stay away from the consumer,” he told Neil Cavuto.
The Trump administration has argued that the U.S. won’t bear the burden of the tariffs imposed on Beijing. But Helfenbein said he disagrees.
“If we ride it out, we’ve got bigger problems because we have to raise prices, we have to pay for these tariffs,” he said.