Money & The Economy

US Tariffs Trigger Sharp Decline In Chinese Imports, Trade

Tariffs placed on Chinese products triggered a decline in the amount of goods imported from China to the U.S. as Americans began buying products from other nations, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Americans and U.S. businesses shifted purchasing products from China due to high tariffs placed by former President Donald Trump, according to Trade Data Monitor information analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. Tariffs currently affect $250 billion worth of Chinese imports while they affected about $370 billion in goods in 2018 and 2019, showing that U.S. consumers have looked elsewhere for tariffed goods.

“If the goal was to reduce imports from China then it succeeded,” Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, told the WSJ.

However, Americans haven’t shifted their purchases to U.S.-made products, according to the WSJ. Instead, they’ve mainly looked to other Asian countries for goods like furniture, apparel and technology.

“If the goal was to increase manufacturing employment in the United States I don’t see any evidence that that’s happened,” Allen said, according to the WSJ. “If the goal was to increase imports from other countries in Asia or increase manufacturing employment in Vietnam, it’s succeeded.”

Vietnam has been among the nations to greatly benefit from the declining Chinese imports, the WSJ reported. In 2018, Vietnam supplied the 12th most imports to the U.S., but now supplies the 6th most.

The Chinese telecommunications industry has been the hardest hit by increased tariffs, according to the WSJ. Telecommunications equipment imports are down roughly $15 billion since the tariffs were put in place in 2018.

In addition, semiconductor imports have shifted from China to Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam, the WSJ reported.

Tensions between the U.S. and China rose throughout Trump’s presidency as he repeatedly introduced new tariffs on Chinese goods. The conflict culminated when Trump applied tariffs of 30% on $250 billion of Chinese goods in 2019.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said President Joe Biden’s administration wouldn’t commit to removing tariffs from Chinese imports, the WSJ reported in March.

“No negotiator walks away from leverage, right?” she told the WSJ.

Biden promised he would keep the levies in place in December.

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