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Industries unite in Americans for Free Trade

Americans for Free Trade joins Farmers for Free Trade in Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign.

More than 80 of the nation’s leading trade associations representing thousands of businesses and workers has formed Americans for Free Trade, a multi-industry coalition aimed at opposing tariffs and highlighting the benefits of international trade to the U.S. economy.

Americans for Free Trade will immediately join Farmers for Free Trade, the coalition backed by the nation’s largest ag commodity groups, in a multi-million-dollar national campaign called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.

The Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign will include:

  • Events in congressional districts across the country that bring together farmers, business owners and factory workers to discuss how tariffs are directly hurting them;
  • Paid TV, radio and online advertisements highlighting how tariffs are affecting families, farmers, factory workers and businesses of all sizes;
  • A rapid response “war room” that will fact check and respond to tariff announcements;
  • Op-eds, blogs and statements from Americans bearing the brunt of tariffs;
  • A digital media campaign explaining the economic harm of tariffs to a wide online audience; and
  • Direct outreach to key members of Congress on behalf of grassroots voices from across the nation.
  • A geographically searchable map ( that allows users to find stories of job losses, deferred investments, higher prices and other negative consequences for farmers and businesses in communities across the country impacted by tariffs.

“Every sector of the U.S. economy stands to lose in a trade war,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The stakes couldn’t be higher for American families, businesses, farmers and workers threatened by job losses and higher prices as a result of tit-for-tat tariffs. That’s why a diverse coalition of industries is banding together to amplify the voices of hardworking Americans and ensure Washington understands the real-world consequences of a trade war. We are here to stand up for communities across the country, large and small, that are counting on the administration to develop a real strategy, get back to the negotiating table and ease trade tensions.”

“This campaign will show how tariffs are squeezing the average American family and community from every direction,” said Farmers for Free Executive Director Trade Brian Kuehl. “If you are in Des Moines, Iowa, or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, it’s not just that tariffs are dropping the value of corn, soy or pork. Increasingly it’s that the price of buying a dishwasher has gone up, or that a local business has put off expansion because of the price of steel or aluminum. By joining with leading retailers, manufactures and services organizations, Farmers for Free Trade will play a big role in showing the comprehensive damage the trade war is having on American communities.”

“Tariffs are a tax on American families, period,” said Retail Industry Leaders Association President Sandy Kennedy. “This escalating trade war threatens to tax every aspect of our American lifestyle, from the clothes on our back and the food we eat to the cars we drive and shoes we wear.”

“The continuous use of tariffs erodes market access for U.S. manufacturers and threatens millions of good-paying jobs – including the 1.3 million equipment manufacturing jobs our industry supports,” said Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater. “This broad coalition represents a significant cross-section of our nation’s economy and speaks volumes to the sort of negative impact these misguided tariffs are making. By joining together we hope to send a message to Washington that we need trade not taxes.”

The campaign will kick-off with events in Chicago, Nashville, Pennsylvania and Ohio during the month of September. Additional events will take place in September and October in key communities throughout the heartland.

Source: Association of Equipment Manufacturers

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