Economist says Tenn. will suffer more than most states as a result of Pres. Trump's tariffs

Jun 5, 2018


NASHVILE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Alarm is spreading in Tennessee over what impact President Donald Trump’s recently announced tariffs will have on the state.

Trump has imposed tariffs on products from Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China among others.

GOP Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander voiced early concern about the impact the tariffs will have here, but most of Tennessee’s Republican Reps in the House are now also expressing reservations.

John Scannapieco is an attorney with the powerful Nashville law firm Baker Donelson. The firm represents some of Tennessee largest employers.

Scannapieco says an unnamed Tennessee auto company executive recently expressed concern to him about the tariffs forcing some of his small parts suppliers out of business.

“He said that’s the real catastrophic issue here. If the supply fails then we’re all in trouble here because, as you may know, in the auto industry it’s not like they can just go out and replace Company A with Company B.”

Middle Tennessee State Economist Steven Livingston tracks global commerce in the state. He says the tariff’s will hurt Tennessee more than most states, and agrees the large auto industry here is especially vulnerable.

“Tennessee is really going to be exposed, and then it’s going to be exposed in the second wave when the retaliation hits, because Tennessee does have products that are going to be caught in the cross-hairs.”

Dr. Livingston says the U.S. has never used tariffs the way the president is using them right now and most economists fear the results.

Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Diane Black is one of the few to voice open support for the Trump tariffs. She told a West Tennessee audience in mid-May that the president is a “strong negotiator” and believes “fair deals will be achieved at the end of the day.”