President Trump plans on “fixing our terrible trade deals,” which he says benefit other countries’ exports to the U.S. and hurt U.S. exports to other countries.
How will he do that? By taxing many goods entering the U.S. from around the world.
So what are some of the inequities and what are the taxes – or tariffs – the U.S. has imposed?
Unlike other taxes, tariffs are less about raising revenue for governments and more about changing the flow of products across borders and making foreign manufacturers’ products more expensive for U.S. shoppers and businesses. That theoretically should help American companies that make competing products and are often undercut in price by foreign rivals.
Trump says the U.S. needs the tariffs to encourage other countries to negotiate better deals, stop “dumping” their products in the U.S. at below-market prices and lower their tariffs on shipments to their countries from the U.S. One disparity Trump frequently cites is the trade gap, which shows that businesses in foreign countries sell far more to American consumers and businesses than American companies sell abroad. The imbalance stems at least partly from China’s growth as the world’s low-cost “factory” and Americans’ desire to buy cheaper or different goods from other countries.
But Trump has said many other countries levy far higher tariffs on imports than the U.S. He also has railed against trade deals such as NAFTA and other countries’ tariffs that have led to far more foreign imports into the U.S. than exports from the U.S. to other countries. The average U.S. tariff has been among the world’s lowest at 3.5 percent. The Bahamas is the highest at 33.2 percent.
The Trump administration’s opening salvo of duties on more than $10 billion of imported solar panels and washing machines in January has been followed by escalating U.S. tariffs and retaliatory tariffs by other countries affecting billions of dollars in global trade.
Peter Navarro, one of Trump’s top trade advisers, has suggested that relying too much on foreign imports is a threat to national security. And so the Trump administration has used national security as the basis for enacting some of the tariffs, a strategy some experts have criticized.
Other critics say the administration’s heavy-handed trade tactics are hurting far more U.S. consumers and businesses than they’re helping by raising prices on imported goods and curtailing U.S. exports through other countries’ counter-tariffs.
From a beer contractor in Wisconsin to a clam diver in Washington State to carmakers in the South, the effects of the tariffs have been felt in a variety of industries already throughout the U.S.
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