Speed Reads

Trade Wars

Trump is finally dropping his insistence that only China is paying for his tariffs

On Tuesday, President Trump explained that he is delaying 10 percent tariffs on thousands of Chinese consumer goods until Dec. 15 "for the Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers. ... Just in case they might have an impact on people, what we've done is we've delayed it so that they won't be relevant to the Christmas shopping season."

Analysts who had seen the list of items spared until mid-December — cellphones, video game consoles, laptops, toys, some clothing items and footwear — had already figured this out. But Trump's remarks were notable in that he finally broke from his mantra that "the Chinese are paying the full price of his tariffs," Heather Long writes at The Washington Post. "It's a line that the overwhelming majority of economists and business owners say is false, but Trump kept saying it — until Aug. 13."

U.S.-based companies pay the tariffs on Chinese imports, and a U.S. family of four would pay about $350 a year if Trump's latest tariffs took effect and the full cost was passed on to consumers, the Tax Foundation estimates. The previous round of tariffs focused on parts and supplies, and "many U.S. companies opted to absorb a lot of the added costs, effectively canceling out some of Trump's corporate tax cut," Long notes. But the new tariffs "will hit may finished goods like shoes and iPhones that are assembled fully in China," and "business owners say it's a lot more difficult to absorb those costs or find ways around them."

Most retailers will have stocked their holiday products before Sept. 1, Reuters says, but if you're inclined to last-minute shop, Trump still plans to impose 10 percent tariffs on thousands of other consumer goods in September, including Apple Watches and Fitbits, smart speakers from Google and Amazon, Bluetooth headphones, flat screen TVs, live animates, dairy products, lithium ion batteries, and golf balls, among other merchandise.