CEI Experts: Delay on China Tariffs Shows Real Burden is on Consumers

Press statement, originally posted at cei.org.

On news today that the US Trade Representative will delay new tariffs on some consumer items until Dec. 15, as well as exclude some products from tariffs. Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Ryan Youngand Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray pointed to the tacit admission that consumers are, in fact, burdened by tariffs, contrary to what the Trump administration has maintained.

Senior Fellow Ryan Young said:

“The decision to delay new tariffs on Chinese-made toys, smartphones, laptops, and other popular holiday gifts is a tacit admission that consumers pay for tariffs, not Chinese producers. The administration has been saying otherwise, but it is good to see that they do not believe their own words. Several rounds of China tariffs have so far failed to encourage the Chinese government to make needed reforms. Beijing has instead consistently retaliated with its own trade barriers, hurting the U.S. economy as well as their own. Tariffs do not work. It is time to scrap them in favor of more effective policies. Engaging the WTO dispute resolution process is one such policy and one where the U.S. has an 85 percent success rate. Rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership would add to international pressure on Beijing to rein in its illiberal policies. At the very least, Congress needs to take back the tariff-making authority it delegated away to the president back in the 1960s and 1970s.”

Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray said:

“The administration appears to have decided that Christmas is a health, safety, or national security issue, using powers meant for those purposes to delay tariffs on the sort of products Americans like to gift each other on that holiday. At least that recognizes that these tariffs would have been a de facto tax on holiday shopping. The decision also underlines how the administration is abusing power granted it by Congress – power Congress should reclaim urgently.”

Related report: Common Myths and Facts about Trade

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