By Alan Wolf
The latest round of Chinese import tariffs could add a minimum of $1 billion a month to the cost of consumer electronics, a new study shows.
The data, compiled and analyzed by The Trade Partnership consultancy on behalf of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), an industry trade group, suggests that the additional tariffs would nearly double the $1.7 billion in duties paid out this past June. The U.S. imported more than $13 billion in consumer technology products from China that month that would be subject to the additional surcharges.
The Trump administration has set Sept. 1 as the start date of the new 10 percent tariffs, which would be imposed on some $300 billion worth of imported products in its ongoing trade war with China. Impacted tech devices include TVs, streaming media players, cable set-top boxes, Wi-Fi routers, printers, digital cameras, smart speakers and wireless earbuds and headphones, among other tech products.
However, tariffs on Chinese-made mobile phones, laptop computers, computer monitors, and video game consoles will be delayed until Dec. 15, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced.
“Tariffs are taxes – and increasing costs on companies puts consumers in the middle of President Trump’s trade war,” said CTA President/CEO Gary Shapiro. “While we support the president’s effort to stop China’s forced technology transfers and IP theft, this unpredictable trade policy forces companies to raise the costs of their products, leaving American businesses, workers and families – not China – to pay for these [retaliatory] tariffs.”
Section 301 tariffs on China have cost the consumer electronics industry over $10 billion since July 2018, the trade group said, including $1 billion on 5G-related products, a critical emerging technology.
The National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, similarly took President Trump to task for escalating the trade war. “We are disappointed the administration is doubling-down on a flawed tariff strategy that is already slowing U.S. economic growth, creating uncertainty and discouraging investment,” said David French, the NRF’s Senior VP for Government Relations. “These additional tariffs will only threaten U.S. jobs and raise costs for American families on everyday goods.”
Earlier this summer 661 U.S. companies and trade associations representing the retail, major appliance, home furnishings, consumer tech, apparel, manufacturing and agriculture sectors sent a letter to President Trump urging him to remove the current tariffs and to work with America’s allies in negotiating enforceable trade agreements.
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