Donald Trump’s China tariffs cost American businesses and consumers $6 billion in June, advocacy group says

09-Aug-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The US Treasury took in $6 billion in revenue from tariffs in June, new government data shows. But that cost has been passed on to American businesses and consumers, according to a group critical of the duties US President Donald Trump has imposed as part of the trade war with China.

A report released on Wednesday by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a coalition of businesses and trade organisations opposed to the tariffs, said its analysis showed a 74 per cent increase in June tariffs year-on-year. Some $3.4 billion of that is attributable to new duties levied by Trump since he began the trade war last year.

The group’s report compiled from US Treasury and Census Bureau data is the first look at the impact of the steep escalation of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent in May. It came days after Trump announced another round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion in imports, to take effect on September 1.

“Americans are already paying record-high tariffs, and the biggest hit to consumers is still to come on September 1,” the group’s spokesman, Jonathan Gold, said in a statement on Wednesday.

After analysing government data, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland found that American businesses and consumers have paid more than $27 billion in new tariffs from the beginning of the trade war in 2018 through June of this year. The overwhelming majority nearly 75 per cent of those duties have been on Chinese imports.

Data from the Treasury Department shows that as of June 30, it collected $63 billion in tariffs over the preceding 12 months.

Throwing heavier tariffs at China has been a Trump negotiating tactic, and it has drawn criticism inside the US as many believe the move has cost jobs, raised prices for consumers and stifled US economic growth.

While the first set of tariffs were aimed at industrial components from China, the new round to take effect in September is expected to hit items American consumers buy directly, such as toys, cellphones, computers, shoes, clothes and video games.

Jay Foreman, CEO of Basic Fun!, said that with the added tariffs, his toy company would have to either cut jobs or increase prices.

“The money has to come from somewhere,” said Foreman, whose Florida-based company employs 110 people. “If we endure a 10 per cent tariff, we need to reduce 10 per cent headcount. A 25 per cent increase in tariff means a 25 per cent cut in headcount.”

In response to the domestic criticism, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the tariffs on Chinese imports were not affecting consumer prices. “China has strategically gamed the tariffs by slashing their prices and by devaluing their currency,” Navarro told “Fox News Sunday” this week.

However, not everyone agrees. On a call organised by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland on Wednesday, Lance Ruttenberg, CEO of the American Textile Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, said businesses owners were not currency traders.

“We cannot rely on monitoring the currency changes to manage our businesses,” he said.


Category: China

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