/Trump to delay China duties on many consumer items

Trump to delay China duties on many consumer items

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The items account for huge share of the $300 billion worth of remaining Chinese imports that Trump said on Aug. 1 that he would be hitting with a 10 percent duty, effective Sept. 1. | Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo

trade

08/13/2019 10:14 AM EDT

Updated 08/13/2019 11:01 AM EDT


The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that a new 10 percent import duty on cellphones, laptops, video game consoles, toys, computer monitors and certain footwear and clothing made in China will be delayed until Dec. 15, instead of taking effect on Sept. 1 as President Donald Trump originally announced.

The items account for huge share of the $300 billion worth of remaining Chinese imports that Trump said on Aug. 1 that he would be hitting with a 10 percent duty, effective Sept. 1. The action lessens the possibility that a long list of consumer goods the United States imports from China will be hit with a “Trump tax” during the crucial holiday shopping period.

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Markets surged on the news. As of 10:30 a.m., the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped nearly 500 points, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 2 percent.

Separately, the Chinese state-run People’s Daily reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had spoken by phone with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in what appears to have been their first conversation since a meeting two weeks ago in Shanghai.

A spokesman for the USTR said he did not yet have a readout of the call with Liu.

The USTR office also announced on Tuesday that “certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent.”

Trump has already imposed a 25 percent duty on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, but those are primarily raw materials and intermediate goods used by manufacturers.

USTR did not provide an immediate estimate of the value of the goods whose tariffs are being delayed or were taken off the list altogether.

However, earlier this summer, when Trump was contemplating putting a 25 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, the Semiconductor Industry Association asked for $115 billion worth of products to be removed from the list because they all use semiconductors made by U.S. companies.

That request covered $43 billion worth of cellphones, $37 billion worth of data processing machines and billions of dollars of televisions, video game consoles, monitors, video cameras, headphones and other electronics.

USTR published on its website the lists of items that would face an additional 10 percent tariff on Sept. 1 as well as those whose tariffs are delayed until Dec. 15.

The trade office also confirmed it would create an exclusion process for the remaining items hit by a 10 percent tariff so companies can request them to be taken off the list.

The United States imports $28 billion worth of toys, $11 billion worth of footwear and more than $40 billion worth of clothing and other textile items in 2018, although just how much of that would now face delayed tariffs was unclear.

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