Aug 13, 2019

U.S. delays impending China tariffs on some products until December

Shipping containers from China and Asia are unloaded at the Long Beach port, California. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The impending 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports targeted by President Trump in the trade war will be delayed from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15 for certain products, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced Tuesday. Certain products will also be taken off the list based on "health, safety, national security and other factors."

Why it matters: The delay — for items like cellphones, laptops, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing — will help accommodate the holiday rush to ship products from China, easing the financial burden on U.S. importers. The Dow spiked 2% on the news, with the share price of companies like Apple, Best Buy, Dollar Tree, Hasbro and Gap leading the surge.

Between the lines: The threat of a crashing stock market and higher Christmas shopping prices appears to have spooked the Trump administration, despite the president's false insistence that China pays the cost of tariffs directly into the U.S. Treasury.

  • China expert Bill Bishop notes on Twitter: "Remarkable cave by Trump on his tariff threat from early August. The message to Beijing is Trump can’t hold firm because of worries voters may get unhappy with more expensive holiday goods. So why would Beijing make concessions?"

What's next: The next round of U.S.-China trade talks is expected to take place in the next 2 weeks, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Go deeper: The forever trade war

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

The U.S. flag flies over a container ship unloading it's cargo from Asia, at the Port of Long Beach, California. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration's list of goods from China that won't be subject to a 10% tariff until Dec. 15 is made up of "products where 75% or more of the 2018 U.S. imports of that product were from China," according to an email sent to trade groups from the U.S. Trade Representative Office.

Why it matters: The initial press release from the USTR said certain items would see a delay in taxes "as part of USTR's public comment and hearing process," but it did not specify whether there was a formula involved in the two list designations. The items subject to the Sept. 1 tariff are those that are less commonly imported from China.

Trump: Apple's Tim Cook made a good case that trade war helps Samsung

Apple CEO Tim Cook and President Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said Sunday Apple CEO Tim Cook made a "very compelling argument" during a meeting with him on how paying tariffs would make it difficult for the tech giant to compete with the likes of Samsung.

The big picture: Trump announced last week he would delay for 3 months tariffs on some Chinese imports, including certain tech goods, footwear and clothing. The 10% tariffs that were due to go into effect Sept. 1 would have affected iPhones and iPads.

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019

Trump escalates tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports

President Trump said he would raise tariffs against China on Friday in the aftermath of China's newly announced tariffs and a steep stock market drop.

What's happening: Trump said on Friday that $250 billion worth of goods and products from China would be taxed at 30% instead of 25%, starting Oct. 1, and the remaining $300 billion worth of goods will be taxed at 15%, instead of 10%.

Go deeperArrowAug 23, 2019