Sunday, August 12, 2018

U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods

A friend passed along this laundry list of U.S. tariffs being imposed during the Trump-confected trade war with China.

Why do I have this feeling that whatever the frictions, it is consumers like me who will shoulder the costs of economic improvements?

Is this part of the plan to refill the "swamp" the president-wannabe once railed against? It's beyond my pay grade to know how to answer.


  1. How unable are we to provide for ourselves that we import so much?

    1. 1. Good question.
      2. At What Cost?

    2. I grew up with “Its a Small World After All.”
      An expectation of the lowering of barriers among countries.

      I have little recollection of major much less minor Trade Wars.

      So Trump’s Trade Move seems insane in its scope with only only foreign steel and aluminum tar guided but small commodities like over 6,000 items from China alone tariffed, I imagine that not only the Koch Bros. but the Walmart Walton’s will be out to retaliate. But who knows how the big money flows.

      Some superficial trade war research:
      This “major” stuff seem like small potatoes to me in comparison. So I wonder if something is missing.

      Opium war: The First Opium War was fought between the Qing dynasty and the British Empire between 1839 and 1842 over ban on trafficking of the substance by the British East India Company to China. This led to China losing Hong Kong to Britain During the second Opium war between 1856-1860, Britain along with France forced China to open all of China to foreign merchants and exempt foreign import duties. Both the wars weakened the Qing dynasty and led to modernization of China.

      The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, 1930. Repealed with the enactment of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934, the US Congress gave the authority to its President to negotiate bilateral trade deals without prior Congress approval. [Boned Headed!]

      Chicken wars: In early 1960s, France and Germany imposed high tariffs on American chickens as demand for European chickens fell with people savouring cheaper American chickens. The US retaliated with imposing higher tariffs on a bunch of commodities including French brandy and Volkswagen buses. It even threatened to cut Nato troops to Europe. However, France and Germany didn’t buckle under pressure even though consumers from both sides of Atlantic ocean were the real losers.

      The Pasta War: The Regan administration of US raised tariffs on Pasta from Europe in 1985 as its complains of discrimination against its Citrus products fell in deaf ears. Europe retaliated in kind with higher tariffs on American lemon and walnuts. In August 1986, both sides signed an agreement ending the citrus dispute and in October 1987 ended the pasta dispute.

      The Banana wars: To restrict import of Bananas to its colonies in Africa and Caribbean, Europe imposed heavy tariffs on import of Latin American bananas in 1993. Since the US companies own most of the banana farms in Latin America, the US filed eight separate complaints in the WTO. The EU agreed in 2009 to gradually reduce tariffs on bananas from Latin America. However, it is only in 2012 that the EU and 10 Latin American countries signed an agreement to formally end all the eight WTO cases, ending the 20 year long banana war.


      If the U.S. abdicates as champion of the international trading system, China may be the only country that can take the reins. The question is, what would that mean for the current system of open and free markets?


      So is this where China comes out ahead and eventual pays back the Donald? Or is he so greedy that the rather small benefit$ Trump Inc had already received the payment allowing the big hit to the US economy?