Industry body says Trump-era tech tariffs hurt US economy

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Industry body says Trump-era tech tariffs hurt US economy

American importers of technology products from China paid over US$32 billion worth of tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump between mid-2018 to the end of 2021, a new trade group report showed

The report by the Consumer Technology Association comes as as the Biden administration continues to deliberate over whether to remove some duties as high inflation squeezes the US economy.

CTA said in its report  that the tech industry has reduced its dependence on China in the wake of the tariffs.

However, this has been offset by increased imports from Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and other countries.

Roughly half of the US$32 billion in tariffs were paid on Chinese-produced computers and electronic products, CTA said.

Total "Section 301" tariffs paid on Chinese goods through July 13 totaled US$145.43 billion, according to Customs and Border Protection figures.

Ed Brzytwa, CTA's vice president of international trade, said that the tariffs were hurting US businesses, not solving China trade challenges.

"With rising prices across all sectors of our economy, removing tariffs would mitigate rampant and harmful inflation and lower costs for Americans," he said.

CTA's review of import trends since the tariffs were first imposed in phases in mid-2018 show that imports of Chinese tech goods hit by Section 301 tariffs fell by 39 per cent over the next three and a half years, while those not affected grew by 35 per cent.

China’s share of U.S. imports of tech products hit by the tariffs roughly halved to 17 per cent in 2021 from 32 per cent in 2017, CTA said.

Despite the tariffs, some imports of Chinese produced consumer tech goods were higher in 2021 than 2017.

This suggests that the motivation among some companies to "leave China" had abated.

Among these products were digital cameras, certain cooking appliances and vacuum cleaners including robot ones.



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