Trump Presses Pause On October 1 Tariff Increase; Tariff Burden Reaches Record $6.8 Billion In July

In a tweet last night, President Trump announced that the planned tariff increase on $250 billion in Chinese imports from 25 percent to 30 percent has been pushed back from October 1 to October 15 as a gesture of goodwill to the Chinese. The President’s announcement follows the Chinese government’s decision to grant 16 U.S. products one-year exemptions from its retaliatory tariffs.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to resume face-to-face talks with Chinese representatives in October. The last top-level in-person meeting on the trade issue took place in July in Shanghai. Earlier this week, Secretary Mnuchin struck an optimistic note on the status of the negotiations, saying that Washington and Beijing have a “conceptual” agreement on enforcement issues.

While negotiations between the two sides continue, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a coalition of more than 150 associations—including PPAI—representing every sector of the U.S. economy, has released data measuring the impact of the tariffs. It reports that in July, tariffs cost U.S. businesses and consumers $6.8 billion, a 62-percent increase over July of last year, and the highest monthly total in U.S. history. This increase is driven by $3.5 billion in new tariffs on goods imported from China. July marked the first full month of data collected after tariffs on many of those products increased from 10 to 25 percent earlier this year. The data does not include recent and upcoming tariff increases on nearly $300 billion in additional imports.

“These historic tariff increases are what’s causing significant uncertainty for American employers, leading to less investment, higher prices and fewer job opportunities,” says Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold. “You can’t budget for a double-digit tariff increase, and you can’t plan a business when you’re living tweet-by-tweet. The administration needs to use upcoming negotiations to end a trade war that truly has no winners.”

In total, American taxpayers have now paid more than $30 billion in extra import tariffs from the beginning of the trade war in 2018 through July of this year, the organization reports. Its data also shows that American exports targeted for retaliation have now declined for 13 straight months when compared to the same month in the previous year.

Tariffs of 15 percent on an additional $112 billion (List 4a) of Chinese imports took effect on September 1, and another $160 billion in Chinese imports (List 4b) will face 15-percent tariffs on December 15. The data released by the trade coalition shows that U.S. businesses brought in $26.4 billion in products included on Lists 4a and 4b in July.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland’s data was produced in conjunction with The Trade Partnership, which compiles monthly data released by the U.S. government. The monthly import data is calculated using data from the U.S. Census Bureau; monthly export data is compiled using data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On September 16, during PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit in Alexandria, Virginia, a panel will address the many issues businesses need to consider should tariffs drive them to seek new sources for product manufacturing, including the regulatory climate of the country, logistics, known human rights issues, availability of raw materials and more. This is one of 18 industry-focused sessions planned for the conference that runs September 15-17. Seats are still available. Click here for more information and to register.

 

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