Rock to Road

U.S. trade organizations join together in major campaign against tariffs

September 12, 2018  By AEM

Farmers for Free Trade has joined with Americans for Free Trade, a new coalition of the largest retail, manufacturing, technology and services trade organizations, in a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign against tariffs

“Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” will tell the stories of American families, farmers, workers and businesses who are being hurt by the trade war; and will kick off with events in Chicago, Nashville, Pennsylvania and Ohio next week.

Over 80 of the nation’s leading trade associations representing thousands of businesses and workers today announced the formation of Americans for Free Trade a multi-industry coalition aimed at opposing tariffs and highlighting the benefits of international trade to the U.S. economy. This new coalition will immediately join Farmers for Free Trade, the coalition backed by the nation’s largest ag commodity groups, in a multi-million dollar national campaign called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. The campaign will focus on telling the stories of the American businesses, farmers, workers and families harmed by tariffs through town-hall style events, grassroots outreach to Congress and the administration, social media, rapid response and digital advertising.  

The campaign includes a geographically searchable map ( that allows users to find stories of job losses, deferred investments, higher prices and other negative consequences for farmers and businesses in communities across the country impacted by tariffs.


To read a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on this new combined effort that includes a list of many of the trade organizations joining Americans for Free Trade, visit here.

“The continuous use of tariffs erodes market access for U.S. manufacturers and threatens millions of good-paying jobs – including the 1.3 million equipment manufacturing jobs our industry supports,” Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) president Dennis Slater said. “This broad coalition represents a significant cross-section of our nation’s economy and speaks volumes to the sort of negative impact these misguided tariffs are making. By joining together we hope to send a message to Washington that we need trade not taxes.”

“This campaign will show how tariffs are squeezing the average American family and community from every direction,” Farmers for Free Trade executive director Brian Kuehl said. “If you are in Des Moines, Iowa or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it’s not just that tariffs are dropping the value of corn, soy or pork. Increasingly it’s that the price of buying a dishwasher has gone up, or that a local business has put off expansion because of the price of steel or aluminum. By joining with leading retailers, manufactures and services organizations, Farmers for Free Trade will play a big role in showing the comprehensive damage the trade war is having on American communities.”

The campaign will highlight the heartland’s opposition to current and new tariffs through:

• Events in congressional districts across the country that bring together farmers, business owners and factory workers to discuss how tariffs are directly hurting them;
• Paid TV, radio and online advertisements highlighting how tariffs are affecting families, farmers, factory workers and businesses of all sizes;
• A rapid response “war room” that will fact check and respond to tariff announcements;
• Op-eds, blogs and statements from Americans bearing the brunt of tariffs;
• A digital media campaign explaining the economic harm of tariffs to a wide online audience; and
• Direct outreach to key members of Congress on behalf of grassroots voices from across the nation.

The campaign will kick-off with events in Chicago, Nashville, Pennsylvania and Ohio during the month of September. Additional events will take place in September and October in key communities throughout the heartland.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is the largest bipartisan campaign solely focused on amplifying the diverse and powerful voices of the families, farmers, factory workers, manufacturers, retailers, energy and technology companies, importers, exporters and other supply-chain stakeholders hurt by tariffs. Visit to learn more.

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 950 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry in the United States supports 1.3 million jobs and contributes roughly $159 billion to the economy every year.

Print this page


Stories continue below