Car shipments at the Port of San Diego. Courtesy of the port

California will be among the states hardest hit by a trade war if all of the tariffs threatened by the Trump administration are implemented.

Exports account for 22.4 percent of the Golden State’s economy, making it the 13th most export-dependent state, according to the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. But the total value of California’s exports at $613 million far exceeds other states.

“Trump’s protectionism is superficial and short-sighted because it ignores the complexities and dynamics of world markets and global supply chains, and ignores all of the unseen, delayed and hidden costs of trade protectionism,” noted Mark J. Perry, a researcher at the think tank.

The Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on imports of steel, and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum, on the European Union, Canada and Mexico effective June 1. Tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods are set to begin Friday. In addition, Trump has proposed tariffs on all imported cars and car parts.

Every country has responded with retaliatory tariffs of their own, prompting increasing criticism from national business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which launched a campaign this week opposing the tariffs.

“Tariffs imposed by the United States are nothing more than a tax increase on American consumers and businesses, including manufacturers, farmers and technology companies, who will all pay more for commonly used products and materials,” the chamber said. “Retaliatory tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. exports will make American-made goods more expensive, resulting in lost sales and ultimately lost jobs here at home.”

The chamber urged Americans to contact their senators and congressmen to express their opposition.

Trade worries have weighed on financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 132 points on Tuesday and is off more than 2 percent for the year to date.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.