We’ve been following President Trump’s trade war very closely. Mostly because it’s not hard to foresee taxpayers being asked to increase federal spending to compensate businesses for the economic losses caused by these tit-for-tat tariffs. As the trade war escalates and the tariffs move from threatened to real, the $12 billion in “aid” the US Department of Agriculture announced it will send to select farmers and ranchers is likely just the first of many payouts to come from the Treasury. The more tariffs are used, in a number of products subject to the increased taxation as well as the higher rate, the more likely industries other than agriculture will see Washington attempting to buy their silence with aid in place of trade. At a time when we already have a $21 trillion debt with trillion dollar annual deficits on the horizon, this is a fiscally perilous path.
Taxpayers for Common Sense is attempting to make the complicated issue of America’s trade relationship with the world just a bit easier to understand. We’ve compiled a (downloadable) spreadsheet of the tariffs* the US has imposed on imports, as well as the retaliatory tariffs other countries have imposed on US exports. The Trump Administration is imposing tariffs on other countries under the authority of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as well as Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Section 232 allows tariffs on imports that threaten America’s national security (the claimed defense for the aluminum and steel tariffs), while Section 301 allows tariffs on imports that burden or restrict US commerce (the claimed justification for most tariffs on China).
Product descriptions and product classifications are entered as reported by the countries (with minimal clean up on our end). The spreadsheet includes all US tariffs announced thus far and all non-US tariffs through August 8, 2018. The latest round of potential tariffs announced by China on August 3, 2018 will be added as the list is translated.
Primary source documents for the lists are included in the “notes and index” sheet of the spreadsheet. Product descriptions are not always very descriptive (especially for aluminum and steel). To understand exactly what types of products are subject to increased tariff taxes, see the searchable Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) here. An explanation of what American trade products are now subject to increased tariffs, a searchable customs codes and classifications can be found here.