Fresh off enforcing a big increase in tariffs on some types of goods imported from China, the Trump administration has revealed its planned list of additional categories for a second big tariff hike. As Reuters reports, the new categories to be affected by tariffs as high as 25 percent include laptops, cellphones, and tablets, along with other everyday items like clothing, shoes, pencil sharpeners, books, bedsheets, and lawn mowers. Fresh produce, meat, dairy products, and various live animals would also be subject to the increased tariffs. Pharmaceuticals and rare earth elements are among the few major imports that would not be affected.
Although the US president has argued that his tariffs would be paid for by China, analysis of the 2018 round of tariff increases from his administration has shown that the burden has mostly fallen on Americans. The broad consensus among economists, as articulated by Goldman Sachs, is that “the costs of U.S. tariffs have fallen entirely on U.S. businesses and households.”
The present set of proposed tariff increases would affect practically every line of consumer goods, to the detriment of companies like Apple, which manufactures its iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers in China. Given its severity, this move would appear to be primarily an effort to scare China into negotiating a new trade deal to avert the mutually damaging effects of curtailing trade between the world’s two biggest economies.
A public hearing will take place on June 17th to discuss the 3,805 product categories included on the list. After a seven-day comment period, the new tariffs would be ready to go into effect at the end of June, around the same time that President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will be meeting at a G20 summit in Japan.