Trump’s China Tariffs

Fill me in: The Trump Administration on Friday formally announced plans to impose a 25% tariff on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese imports, following through on proposals and sparking an immediate threat of retaliation from Chinese officials. The tariffs are coming in at least two batches: A first list, totaling $34 billion worth of imports, will be hit with tariffs early next month; the second list, worth about $16 billion, will undergo further review, but tariffs on these goods could hit in late July or August.

Update (June 20, 2018): The Trump administration this week threatened to slap an additional 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and the president pledged to pursue additional tariffs of another $200 billion if China retaliated. In sum, tariffs could total $450 billion, roughly 90% of what the United States imports annually from China.


Why does it matter? The move will hit American consumers and businesses – including manufacturers, farmers, and technology companies – with higher costs on commonly used products and materials, and as a result, it stands to slow the United States’ recent economic resurgence.

The move is the latest in a string of potentially economically crippling trade developments, including new tariffs proposed or implemented on steel, aluminum, cars, and auto parts, as well as heightening uncertainty surrounding NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement).

Number to know: 134,000. That’s the number of American jobs threatened by the new tariffs on China, according to a study commissioned by the Consumer Technology Association and the National Retail Federation.

Our take: “Imposing tariffs places the cost of China’s unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers. This is not the right approach.” – U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue (check out the full release here)

What’s next? These latest tariffs will start to take effect on July 6, but don’t be surprised if China immediately retaliates with additional tariffs on American-made agricultural and manufactured goods. Chinese officials previously warned that they would respond with 25% tariffs on $50 billion of imports from the United States, with American-made aircraft, cars and auto parts among the products in their crosshairs. Meanwhile, the White House has said it could triple its tariffs to $150 billion.

In short, this is the latest development in an escalating trade war that is already having damaging effects on American consumers and businesses.