The Trump Regime Announces Tariffs on Thailand

Written by SK Ashby

For reasons that are vague at best, the Trump regime has announced that they will revoke Thailand's privileged trade status in the near future and impose tariffs on goods that are currently imported to the United States duty free.

Among other things, the new tariffs will primarily hit the nation's seafood industry.

From Reuters:

The USTR’s office said the move amounted to a suspension of $1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

The suspension, which goes into effect in six months, will affect about a third of Thailand’s products included in the trade program. Duty-free treatment will be revoked for all Thailand’s seafood exports to the United States over labor issues, the USTR’s office said.

The United States was also opening reviews of its duty-free treatment for certain products from South Africa over intellectual property issues and Azerbaijan over workers’ rights concerns, the USTR’s office said in a statement.

You may not know this, but a significant portion of the seafood Americans purchase in groceries and consume at restaurants is imported from southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.

Most seafood we consume comes from farms, but if tariffs are imposed on seafood imported from Thailand, there's a good chance that the price of your favorite shrimp, crabs, tilapia and salmon could increase.

The good news is these tariffs won't be imposed until April of 2020 and that leaves at least some chance that the tariffs won't be imposed.

The "labor issues" cited by the U.S. Trade Representative's office stems from a complaint filed by the AFL-CIO labor union all the way back in 2015. I haven't found any current reporting that spells out exactly what those issues are, but it appears to be related to rights for migrant workers from outside Thailand.