Even before yet more tariffs were unleashed on a raft of sectors at the beginning of the month, businesses were feeling the pain.
American companies paid $6.8 billion in tariffs in July, the highest amount on record and an increase of 62 percent from the same month in 2018, according to Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a coalition of more than 150 associations from every sector.
At the same time, the data showed how the trade war and retaliatory tariffs are dragging down American exports, declining for the 13th straight month.
“These historic tariff increases are what’s causing significant uncertainty for American employers, leading to less investment, higher prices and fewer job opportunities,” Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold said.
“You can’t budget for a double-digit tariff increase, and you can’t plan a business when you’re living tweet-by-tweet. The administration needs to use upcoming negotiations to end a trade war that truly has no winners,” said Gold.
The situation is only set to worsen unless Chinese and U.S. officials can reach an agreement when they resume trade talks next month in Washington, D.C.
That’s because while July marked the first full month of data collected after tariffs on many of those products increased from 10 to 25 percent earlier this year, the figures do not include recent and upcoming tariff increases on nearly $300 billion in additional imports. The latter includes apparel and footwear. What’s more, tariffs on products currently at 25 percent are now set to increase to 30 percent on Oct. 1.
Earlier this week the National Retail Federation found that a number of companies were rushing through imports ahead of the September increase.
It said imports at the nation’s major retail container ports reached unusually high numbers just before new tariffs on goods from China took effect Sept. 1 and are expected to surge again before another round of tariffs takes effect in December.
“Retailers are still trying to minimize the impact of the trade war on consumers by bringing in as much merchandise as they can before each new round of tariffs takes effect and drives up prices,” said Gold, who is also NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy.
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