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Sen. Coons says Delawareans are starting feel economic pinch of tariffs

Delaware Public Media

Sen. Chris Coons said President Donald Trump is misusing his national security authority to impose tariffs.

Coons recently told a State Department official that the Trump administration had launched a trade war without a strategy.

He said Delaware farmers are worried by record-low soybean prices and retaliatory tariffs being considered by South Africa will hurt poultry farmers in Southern Delaware.

While the administration said tariffs are needed to protect the economy, Coons argues no U.S. president has ever used national security as a reason to level taxes on allies.

“This is an authority that has only been used twice before by a president against Libya and against Iran," he said. "To use this authority against allies rather enemies of the United States raises some real concerns.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says nearly $25 million in exports from Delaware are threatened by the tariffs. Most of Delaware’s of those exports go to Mexico and Canada.

Coons said they make products more expensive for Delawareans.

“It’s important I think for folks to realize that tariffs are actually consumer taxes, they raise the price of goods to American consumers,” he said.

He adds the Port of Wilmington could also be negatively affected just as the state prepares to close a $580 million deal to lease it.

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