The United States Trade Representative is holding hearings this week AND next regarding the Trump Administration’s proposal to add a 25 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of goods from China. Say that out loud: $300 billion. Which covers 3,811 products that American consumers and businesses purchase from China. (You can see them all on our trade war tracker and timeline.)
Remember, American businesses and importers are already paying 10 to 25 percent more to import all the goods we like or need and cannot begin producing again overnight. If these next tariffs go into effect, the immediate outcome would be an additional 25 percent tariff on the rest of the approximately $539.5 billion in goods imported from China. You bet that’s got people sitting upright.
As of this writing, over 2,000 people and organizations have submitted feedback – don’t be surprised if that number goes up before the day is out. For context, last May, over 3,000 people submitted comments regarding increased tariffs on goods from China. In August, when the USTR held hearings regarding the proposed $200 billion in tariffs on goods from China that later went into effect, over 6,000 people and organizations provided feedback.
The majority of comments are not in support of increasing tariffs, because as we’ve seen these tariffs and the reciprocal tariffs made by other countries are hurting U.S. businesses and consumers. The U.S. agriculture sector has borne the brunt of reciprocal tariffs. This time around, however, consumers are going to see higher prices on many goods that previous rounds of tariffs hopped over. The current $300 billion list contains numerous consumer goods from fishing reels to frog meat. That’s right, your delicious Fourth of July frog is going to be 25 percent more expensive.
So maybe most people aren’t planning to throw a few frog legs on the grill. But what will jump out at most Americans is the increased cost in consumer electronics and a host of other day-to-day products coming from China. Fireworks (but what about July 4th?), toothpicks, men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, umbrellas, tableware and kitchenware, jewelry, flashlights, speakers, TVs, lamps, motorcycles, contact lenses, binoculars, cameras, swimming pools, we can go on and on. They will all be more expensive.
The scary thing is, this trade tiff with not only China but our neighbors Canada and Mexico don’t seem to have an end. And if it’s spreading with more countries that aren’t getting the big headlines, it’s easy not to notice. Except, like the debt, a few retaliatory tariffs here and there and pretty soon you’re talking real pain at the daily taxpayer wallet.