Former Congressman Charles Boustany spoke at a town hall meeting Thursday in Lafayette about the costs tariffs are imposing on the Louisiana economy. New data released Thursday shows dramatic cost increases and export decreases created by President Trump's trade war.

"The historic rise in costs for American businesses, farmers and consumers is only the beginning," Boustany said. "Tariffs are taxes on Americans, and every month this trade war continues these taxes will continue to go up."

Boustany is also a spokesman for Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a nonpartisan nationwide campaign that released the data from the Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Key numbers from the data:

  • According to the most recent data, Louisiana businesses paid $19 million in tariffs on products subject to trump administration tariffs in October. That is more than eight times the tariffs paid on the same products in October 2017.
  • Since new tariffs were imposed, Louisiana businesses have paid an extra $85 million.
  • Since the trade war began, Louisiana businesses, farmers and manufacturers have faced more than $39 million in retaliatory tariffs from trading partners, including $17 million in October.

These tariffs make Louisiana less competitive, Boustany said.

Several Acadiana business owners spoke at the town hall, elaborating on the increased costs they are facing. Local farmers spoke about stubbornly low crop prices that have been exacerbated by the trade war and have decimated the once-lucrative Chinese market for soybeans. Uncertainty over exports is costing tens of thousands of dollars, one farmer said.

"Instead of doubling down on tariffs," Boustany said, "it is time for meaningful negotiations to take place. We urge the administration to pursue negotiations with our trading partners that will de-escalate the trade war."