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How the US import tariffs against China could impact merchants



US has imposed another round  of tariffs on China imports. This will affect $200 billion worth of goods from China. Office of the United States Trade Representative claim the measures are “as part of the United States’ continuing response to China’s theft of American intellectual property and forced transfer of American technology”.

While protectionist supports the tariffs, most economist view tariffs as “bad tax”. The impact could be far reaching and long term, as Jack Ma cautioned “China’s business and political leaders to prepare for the trade war with the U.S. to last 20 years” He added, “US-China trade war will wreck the AliBaba pledge to help create 1 million US jobs.”

What US consumers are buying from China?

In 2017, a total value of $500 billion was spent on Chinese goods, with electronics the highest. Cumulatively “Apparel, Electronics and Household goods ” make up 60% of the total consumption and it seems like it is on a growing trend.


Data from US Census Bureau

What China consumers are buying from US?

Conversely, Chinese consumers are spending way less in US goods at $120 billion. Industrial goods consumption is at 73%, while Produce ranked 2nd. “Apparel, Electronic and Household” is less than 5% of consumption.


Data from US Census Bureau

Which Chinese Goods is affected by US tariffs?

An article from Business Insider  has provide us with a summary list of goods affected by US tariffs. Most of the affected goods are raw material, produce and industrial, however, there are goods that could be sold in ecommerce channel like “Man-made Textile”, “Fabrics”, “Head Gear”, “Glassware”, “Precious Stone and Pearls”, “Electronics”, “Clocks and Watches”, “Furniture, Bedding Mattress”. The official list of 5,745 goods can be found here.

Items include

Photographic goods: various types of photo plates; instant film; various types of film in rolls; various types of motion picture film.

Plastics: vinyl flooring and other plastic floor and wall coverings; sausage casings; bags; gloves including baseball gloves; rain jackets; machinery belts.

Raw hides and leather: animal skins including cow, buffalo, sheep, goats, reptile; various types of leather made from cow, buffalo, sheep, goats, reptile; leather trunks and suitcases; leather handbags; CD cases; gloves including ski, ice hockey, and typical use; belts; fur clothing, including artificial fur.

Wood: fuel wood; charcoal; various types of wood including oak, beech, maple, ash and cherry; moldings; rods; particleboard; various types of plywood; doors; corks and stoppers; wicker and bamboo baskets.

Paper: Newsprint; writing paper; vegetable parchment; carbon paper; self-adhesive paper; cigarette paper; envelopes; tablecloths; handkerchiefs; folders.


Wool or animal hair products: cashmere; yarns; tapestries and upholstery.

Cotton: fibers; thread; yarn; denim; satin.

Flax: yarn; fabrics

Man-made textiles: polypropylene; rayon; nylon; polyester

Other textile products, rope, twine: hammocks; fish nets; carpets;

Fabrics: corduroy; gauze; terry towel; lace; badges; embroidery

Headgear: caps; hairnets; wool hats; head bands.

Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: stone for art; marble slabs; roofing slate; millstones; sandpaper; floor or wall tiles; cement bricks.

Glass and glassware: balls; rods; drawn or blown glass; float glass; tempered safety glass; mirrors; carboys, bottles, jars, pots, flasks, and other containers; microscope slides; woven fiberglass

Various metal products, tools, cutlery: industrial items made from lead, zinc, tin, and more; saw blades; bolt cutters; hammers; wrenches; crow bars.

Electronics: vacuum cleaners; hair clippers; spark plugs; generators; bicycle lights; electric amps; television cameras; various types of TVs; video projectors.

Vehicles and parts: axles; driving shafts; gear boxes; radiators.

Assorted items: buttons; stamps; paintings; collections of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological interest; antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years


Commentary by Maverick Chung

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