Some of Trump’s Tariffs Will Be Delayed

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

For reasons that haven't been clearly specified, the office of Trump's trade representative announced today that some of Trump's upcoming tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods will be delayed from September 1st to December 15th.

The list of items that won't be hit until December includes a variety of consumer goods such as cell phones and clothing, among other things.

From CNBC:

The United States Trade Representative office said on Tuesday that new tariffs on certain items would be delayed until December 15, while other products were being removed from the new China tariff list altogether.

The products in the group that will have tariffs delayed include “cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing,” the USTR said. [...]

The USTR did not specify which items will be removed from the list but it added that it will conduct an “exclusion process for products subject to additional tariff.”

Because we don't have a substantive reason for this delay, I'm going to speculate.

I believe these tariffs are intentionally being delayed until after the heart of the holiday shopping season -- Black Friday included -- because they would have hit retailers right as they begin stockpiling for holiday sales. Moreover, that console your children or grandchildren want for Christmas would have cost anywhere from $25 to $50 more than it normally would at sale prices.

I do not necessarily expect the White House will ever give a clear reason for the delay because admitting that Trump's tariffs would have negatively effected the holiday shopping season would be to admit that tariffs are paid for by American consumers.

With all of that said, to my knowledge there is no legal mechanism that would prevent Trump from imposing these tariffs before December 15th. Four months is a very long time for tariffs to burn a whole in Trump's pockets, but maybe imposing some of them on September 1st will satiate him.

It's not clear just how many Chinese goods will face tariffs on September 1st.

All of Trump's tariffs have eventually been imposed after short periods of delay so this should not be taken as a sign that he won't impose them.

  • muselet

    I’m amazed. Donald Trump actually has enough cognitive ability to realize that people, including his voters, would not take well to having to pay a lot more for Christmas presents.

    No, that’s not true. One of his aides—presumably a low-level one, since the top-drawer aides have no more contact with common folk than their boss—realized it. What’s amazing is that said aide could convince Trump to put his temper tantrum on hold for a while.