Date
12 January 2020
Exports of US goods hit by retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries fell by 23 percent in the 12 months ended November, according to a report. Photo: Reuters
Exports of US goods hit by retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries fell by 23 percent in the 12 months ended November, according to a report. Photo: Reuters

Trump’s tariffs cost US firms US$46 bln to date: report

Tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump to restructure the United States’ top trade relationships have cost American companies US$46 billion since February 2018, Reuters reports, citing an?analysis of US Commerce Department data.

Meanwhile, US exports of goods hit by retaliatory tariffs have fallen sharply, according to the report.

The lion’s share of the higher tariff costs, some US$37.3 billion, stemmed from duties on imports from China, Washington-based consultancy Trade Partnership Worldwide, which calculated cumulative tariff costs through November 2019, was quoted as saying.

Exports of US goods hit by retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries fell by 23 percent in the 12 months ended November, compared with 2017, before the tariffs began, the analysis showed.

Even when retaliatory tariffs have ended, those exports haven’t bounced back, said Trade Partnership Vice President Dan Anthony.

The Trade Partnership uses raw, not seasonally adjusted, data, which is specific enough to match tariff codes to categories of goods, and then break it down by state. It conducted the analysis for Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, which includes a coalition of more than 150 business associations and the Farmers for Free Trade coalition.

Two states that hold early primaries in the 2020 presidential election, Nevada and New Hampshire, saw their exports of goods facing retaliatory tariffs drop by nearly twice the national average, Anthony said. Nevada exports integrated circuits and New Hampshire produces computer and electronics products.

US exports of goods subject to retaliatory tariffs in China were 26 percent lower in the 12 months ending November than in 2017, while exports of items not facing such tariffs were 10 percent higher than 2017 levels, Anthony said.

Total US exports were higher than in 2017, but retaliatory tariffs slowed growth in 2018 and exports have declined in 2019, he said.

Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in February of 2018. US exports to countries that retaliated with tariffs of their own were 15 percent below their 2017 levels in the 12 months ending November 2019.

After Washington rolled back these tariffs for Mexico and Canada, the two countries eliminated retaliatory tariffs on US goods in May, but US exports of affected products have not rebounded.

“The expectation was that trade would start growing again, but that hasn’t happened in the last six months,” Anthony said.

“It raises questions about all other exports that have declined. There’s no guarantee that those sales will rebound if or when those retaliatory tariffs go away.”

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