Chinese tech tariffs may cost US consumers $3.2 billion

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – A new report Friday finds tariffs on Chinese technology goods proposed by the U.S. could end up costing American consumers up to $3.2 billion per year.

The forecast by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) finds American consumers would pay between about 3 – 6 percent more for tech products like speakers, headphones, and smartwatches, even if the products were not produced in China. Prices would rise between 8.5 and 22 percent for products with components imported from China.

In July, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods imported from China. By the end of August, tariffs are scheduled to begin on another $16 billion worth of Chinese imports. Late last month, Trump said on CNBC he would be willing to collect tariffs on all Chinese imports, which accounts for some $505 billion worth of goods.

“With the economy thriving under President Trump – we’ve seen remarkably low unemployment and a booming stock market – the administration shouldn’t jeopardize America’s global standing with tariffs,” CTA president Gary Shapiro said in a statement. “Foreign governments don’t pay the cost of tariffs, Americans do – and for that reason, U.S. trade policy needs to steer clear of tariffs that act like taxes on American manufacturers and consumers.”

One proposal from the White House sets tariffs on printed circuit assemblies and connected devices at 10 percent – CTA says that would cost the American economy about $520.8 million per year. Tariffs at 25 percent, which have also been discussed by Trump officials, would cost the economy $2.4 billion annually.

Tech components targeted by Trump are crucial for the manufacture of items ranging from broadband modems to wireless headphones.

“The danger we face – the unintended consequence – is that tariffs mean Americans will pay more for all the devices they use every day to access the internet,” Shapiro added.

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