Arizona Officials Fear Fallout As New Tariffs On Chinese Goods Start

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Trucks wait to be loaded with cargo at the port in Long Beach, Calif., in this 2017 photo. Arizona officials are concerned about the effect of new tariffs taking effect Sept. 1 on $300 billion in Chinese goods imported into the U.S. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL/Creative Commons)

By Wissam Melhem

WASHINGTON – Arizona business leaders said they worry that a 15% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods that takes effect Sunday will backfire and end up hurting economic growth at home.

The new tariffs are set to be imposed on more than 6,000 items but will fall largely on consumer goods, according to the National Retail Federation. It said 60% of the goods targeted will be items like TVs, cellphones, shoes, clothes, furniture, toys, musical instruments and more.

The tariffs were originally set at 10% but were ratcheted up this month by President Donald Trump in response to tariffs the Chinese imposed on U.S. goods – just the latest rounds in a back-and-forth tariff war between the two countries.

Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is calling for the “immediate ceasefire” in the escalating trade war.

“About 65% of the economy is really associated with consumer spending,” Hamer said. “If consumer confidence drops and the consumer is paying more toward staple items, that can and will hinder our country’s economic growth.”

But in remarks to reporters Friday, Trump insisted that the tariffs are working and that the latest escalation will go ahead as planned Sunday. He claimed that American farmers who have been hurt by Chinese tariffs have urged him to continue pressing for a new trade deal, and he said the Chinese economy is feeling the pressure more acutely.

“A lot of companies have left China and a lot more are leaving … they’re having the worst year they’ve had I understand in 61 years,” said Trump, who added that the two countries are continuing to negotiate.

But while Trump has said on multiple occasions that higher tariffs are a step toward a trade deal with China, one expert on trade policy said it’s not that simple.

“I think China is in a difficult position,” said Simon Lester, an associate director at the Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank.

“If they sign onto a deal that looks all unfavorable to them, they will look like they caved. So I think they have a strong disincentive to actually sign a deal under this kind of bullying and pressure,” Lester said.

In a letter to Trump on Wednesday from the American Free Trade Coalition, 161 manufacturers, farmers, retailers and other businesses – including the Arizona Technology Council – urged the president to postpone the tariffs until after the holiday season. The letter said that most of the merchandise sold over the holidays arrives on U.S. shores in September or October and would be affected by a tariff increase.

One of the business groups that signed the letter, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, condemned Trump’s policy of steadily increasing tariffs on imports. Association President and CEO Rick Helfenbein said in a separate statement that the administration’s approach will be a “disaster” for consumers, businesses and the economy.

“For two and a half years, we have been promised a new and innovative approach, yet what we’ve been given is a 1930s trade strategy,” Helfenbein’s statement said.

Hamer said China is one of Arizona’s largest trading partners, but he worries that more than trade could be at stake. He noted that Chinese students and tourists contribute to Arizona’s economy and that rising tensions between the countries could hurt the state’s relationship with China

“You take a look at Arizona’s economy, and all sectors one way or another are interacting with China,” he said.

8 Comments

  1. I remember as a child in the 50’s people complaining about the cheap junk that was coming out of Japan. Here we are again… only the junk “looks better.” Personally I’m getting sick of paying money to buy another item that has failed just outside the “warranty” only to find out there is no other alternative but buy another one from the same place. After living abroad for a few years I realized after shoppng in stores overseas… THEY get the good stuff and the crap gets dumped in the U.S. because Americans will buy anything priced right or not. Let’s not even mention the 3rd party crap sold by Amazon that doesn’t meet safety standards. Boycott as much opf the crap from the PRC communists that you can for your own good and succeeding generations.

  2. I’d like to see huge fines for all the fentanyl and other drugs coming from there. Maybe $5 billion for each container that has them.

  3. Grow some courage people. There are other ways to give gifts, home made gifts! a few years ago I gave my grandson(adult) one of my wall hangings made specially for him. He loved it. I’m asking a friend to sell me some of her home made honey lip balm, some for me and to gift out.
    A friend always gifts us with her own handmade beautiful candles.
    There was a time when during hard economies Americans made gifts from knitting, crocheting, wood working etc. to give at Christmas, and guess what? With less buying, stores began to drop prices.
    As for myself all my gifts will be sewing projects. I spend less when I harvest fabric from pretty fabric I buy at Goodwill etc. Reinvented, it comes out good. Saves your money, use your old unused American ingenuity. When the economy improves then buy.
    We don’t have to run scared crying “the sky is falling” as some here want you to, stand tall or fall.

  4. I’ve been on a China fast for 6 months now. We’re in an economic war which will not require a hot one down the road. Suck it up folks and support PDJT for taking this one on. China is a problem in the world and the sooner we stop it the better off the world will be.

  5. Do your Christmas shopping now, folks, before prices go up further. Just bought a couple of imported items and found prices up some 35 percent. Since the tariff was 10 percent, it looks like greed is using it as an excuse to jack up prices. So much for that tax break…wiped out already!

  6. looking like we have to many eggs in chinas basket! think long term for our country and our children’s country and stop thinking of only “what’s in your wallet” today. find other markets, we cannot keep giving all our money and power in the hands of one communist evil empire

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