Oct 9, 2019 - Economy

The cost of Trump's tariffs

Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Tariffs Hurt the Heartland; Note: Lists 1-3 refers to USTR designation of Chinese imports subject to tariffs; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Tariffs imposed by President Trump have so far cost U.S. corporations $34 billion, according to data compiled by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland — a coalition of businesses and trade groups that oppose the tariffs — provided first to Axios.

Why it matters: Trade negotiations are set to resume Thursday, and corporate America is hoping the U.S. and China — whose tit-for-tat battle has cost companies the most — strike a truce.

But things aren't looking great: China is censoring access to NBA games, the U.S. is blacklisting certain Chinese companies and U.S. companies fear the impact of tariffs on holiday season sales.

By the numbers: The $34 billion hit that U.S. companies have taken from the Trump tariffs doesn't include the 15% tax on $112 billion worth of Chinese imports — including clothes and shoes — that went into effect on Sept. 1.

  • Next week: U.S. tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods are scheduled to rise to 30% from 25%.
  • While consumer confidence remains at elevated levels, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland points to Wall Street research that projects households would see costs rise by $1,000 after the most recent round of tariffs takes effect — offsetting the benefit consumers got from the tax cuts.
  • In the meantime, economists fear the trade war is weighing on the global economy — and the could be the catalyst for a recession in the U.S.

What they're saying, via the group's press release:

  • "Confidence in the U.S. economy is waning, and leading retailers can’t successfully plan for the future when their supply chains continue to be distorted by tariffs," Jennifer Safavian, head of government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a lobbying group whose members include Walmart and Target.

Go deeper: Scoop: How the U.S. decided which China tariffs will be delayed

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