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U.S. tariffs seen to push up prices, reduce profits: report

(Xinhua)    08:50, August 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The recent increases in U.S. tariffs against imports are seen to be pushing up prices and reducing profits for American manufacturing and service firms, according to a report recently published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

"When asked how much, if at all, recent increases in tariffs have raised input costs-either directly or indirectly - 79 percent of manufacturers and 60 percent of service firms said at least slightly," the New York Fed said Friday in a report based on supplemental questions to the August Empire State Manufacturing and Business Leaders Survey.

Around 14 percent of manufacturers and 12 percent of service firms characterized the increase as substantial, the report showed, noting "the data illustrate a considerably more widespread effect of higher input costs among service firms than in last year's survey."

Businesses were also asked how they saw changes in trade policy affecting the prices they pay, their selling prices, and other measures in 2019 and in 2020.

"For both years, roughly two-thirds of manufacturers saw an upward effect on prices paid, and roughly 45 percent saw an upward effect on selling prices," the report said, adding among service-sector respondents, the numbers were somewhat lower but up noticeably from last year's survey.

In assessing the overall effect of trade policies on their bottom lines, 51 percent of manufacturers perceive a negative effect in 2019 and 47 percent anticipate a negative effect in 2020, the report showed. "For service firms, the proportions are just under 40% for both years."

The report offered fresh evidence that tariffs are hurting U.S. manufacturing and service firms and the overall economy. Business groups have urged the U.S. government to remove all additional tariffs to avoid higher costs to American families and businesses.

"Instead of picking temporary winners and losers and holding the U.S. economy hostage, it is time to reach an agreement that finally puts an end to the trade war," Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign supported by over 150 of America's largest trade organizations, said recently in a statement.

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