Sep 25, 2018 - 12:15pm

Quick Take: Your Primer on Trump’s China Tariffs

Fill me in:

Following an investigation into China’s forced technology transfer and intellectual property practices, the Trump Administration has imposed a total of approximately $250 billion in tariffs on imported Chinese products. In turn, China has retaliated with a total of $110 billion in tariffs against American-made products.

The tariffs came in three waves:

  • July 6: U.S. imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion of imports of Chinese goods, and China immediately retaliated with tariffs on U.S. exports in the same amount. 
  • August 23: U.S. imposed 25% tariffs on an additional $16 billion of imports Chinese goods, and China immediately retaliated with tariffs on U.S. exports in the same amount.
  • September 24: U.S. imposed tariffs on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including many everyday consumer products like electronics and housewares. China again retaliated with tariffs on another $60 billion of American-made products.

Why does it matter?

It 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 tariffs on imported Chinese goods is the latest in a string of potentially economically crippling trade developments, including the already implemented tariffs on steel and aluminum and the proposed tariffs on cars and auto parts.

Number to know: 

455,000. That’s the number of American jobs estimated to be put at risk by U.S. tariffs on $150 billion of imports from China and Chinese retaliation, according to a study commissioned by the Consumer Technology Association and the National Retail Federation.  

Our take:

“The administration is right to hold China accountable, but a trade war risks taking the starch out of the U.S. economy, which runs on pro-growth policies that grow paychecks and create new jobs. That’s not what tariffs deliver. American consumers are already paying the costs of tariffs, and those costs will nearly double if an additional $200 billion in new tariffs are imposed. There are other ways to truly achieve free and fair trade with China. As the U.S. and China take their seats at the negotiating table, it’s critical they focus on finding those solutions to address China’s unfair trade practices for the long term.” – U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue

What’s next? 

Following China’s latest rebuttal, the White House has warned that it could impose tariffs on roughly $267 billion of remaining Chinese exports. Such a move would effectively impose tariffs on all goods the U.S. imports from China. At this point, it’s unclear how China would respond to such an escalation, but some economists speculate that they could ramp up the rates of their current tariffs from 5% and 10% to 25% as well as increase discrimination against U.S. companies operating in China beyond current levels. 

These are the latest development in an escalating trade war that is already having damanging effects on American consumers and businesses. Hear from the farmers, manufacturers, and others that are already feeling the impact.

More reading

Related: Cost of Recent Trade Policies Rack Up

Update: 10/02/2018.

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