Post-Covid, the Federal Government Must Remain Committed to Helping Businesses

After showing a promising commitment to businesses throughout the pandemic, the government is now doubling down on damaging tariffs against China.

By Brendan Flanagan

Omar Chatriwala | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The past year and a half has been a rollercoaster for all Americans. The gradual return to normal has certainly been welcome. However, as we get back to a familiar place, we must remember the important role that American businesses play in generating economic growth and creating jobs.

At one point during the pandemic, American businesses were at the forefront of this conversation, with Congress passing legislation that provided PPP loans and small-business funding. These policies were critical to getting businesses and American workers back on their feet, and the federal government showed that it understood the vital role job creators played in our nation's economic recovery. In fact, our lawmakers were so dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes that they spent over $800 billion and passed three different federal Covid-19 relief packages.

Related: Trade Wars: Who Pays the Price?

The consequences of a continued trade war with China

That's why it's so disappointing to see President Joe Biden and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai hurt those same businesses and our economy by continuing the harmful trade war with China. Recently, Ambassador Tai announced how the Biden administration plans to approach trade with China, and unfortunately tariffs will remain in place. The administration said that its approach to trade with China will largely remain the same and that it will even "build on" the Trump administration's strategy, keeping many of the steep tariffs in place. These policies are keeping us pointed in the wrong direction.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected over $100 billion in tariffs since they were instituted by the Trump administration. The Biden administration is leaving intact a policy that caused thousands of jobs to be lost, led to a decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) and hurt businesses across the country because of the impact those tariffs create. Rather than a flawed status quo, we need stimulative economic and trade tools that advance our country and support American businesses and the workers they employ.

Related: What the Burgeoning Trade War Really Means for Entrepreneurs

How the tariffs impact American businesses, workers and families

This trade war started in 2018 when President Donald Trump placed tariffs on more than $350 billion in goods imported from China. Though well-intentioned, these tariffs have achieved nothing but harm. They created an impediment to the U.S. economy in which our businesses paid these higher costs since tariffs are taxes that importers pay to the U.S. government. These goods are vital to business operations and often cannot be purchased elsewhere, which forces businesses to foot the bill themselves. In the end, American businesses, workers and families are the true victims of these tariffs.

These costs eventually reach American consumers since a business can only withstand paying these tariffs for a certain amount of time until it has to either pass on the costs or go out of business. When consumers start to bear these costs, our entire economy suffers.

When our country was incapacitated due to the global pandemic, the federal government showed that it valued American businesses and understood that they were the path to our nation's healing. There is no reason that commitment should stop there. The Biden administration needs to understand that these tariffs are directly impeding our full recovery and realize that all Americans are the real victims of this trade war, not China.

Related: Three Surprising Business Lessons From the US-China Trade War

We need President Biden and Ambassador Tai to do right by the American people by putting a stop to these harmful tariffs. In this trade war, there are no winners just losers. And right now, American businesses are losing the most.

Brendan Flanagan

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Democratic Political Advisor

Brendan Flanagan has served as an advisor to Democratic candidates nationwide and is a former Obama for America staff member.

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