Health Overhaul Governors

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, joined by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington in June 2017.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich wrote a letter Monday urging the Trump administration to put an end to a trade war they contend hurts U.S. industries and leaves “large numbers of our citizens worse off.”

The letter, addressed to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, seeks to highlight the impact of trade on the states’ economies and “the detrimental effects that uncertainty in U.S. trade policy and the imposition of retaliatory tariffs are having on our states.”

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“We appreciate the desire to revise and seek updated, fair and equitable trade agreements,” the pair wrote. “However, we strongly urge our negotiators to address these opportunities without closing markets, imposing tariffs or enacting government regulations that threaten to negatively affect our manufacturers and agricultural producers, as well as the businesses and rural communities so dependent upon their profitability.”

Twenty-seven states count North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico as their two largest export markets, the governors wrote, citing International Trade Administration statistics.

Those states include Colorado. China, Japan, the UK, Germany and South Korea are also major export destinations, they added. “Now, some of these trading partners are among the countries imposing retaliatory tariffs on our states’ manufacturing and agricultural products.”

The letter closes with an exhortation to “pursue a trade policy that is forward-looking and designed to place our workers and our economy in a position to benefit from all the changes the 21st century will bring.”

A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce report warns that $277 million in Colorado exports and 733,000 jobs are threatened by trade war.

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