The tech industry is speaking out against Trump’s new tariffs on China imports.
Donald Trump threatened some major tariffs on foreign imports–and somehow, even on goods made in the US by companies that are not American but have tens of thousands of US employees building their products–and after a lot of posturing and tweeting, some of those tariffs have gone into effect. Specifically, the tariffs that Trump threatened against China as retaliation for allegedly stealing US technology have launched, now putting an additional 25% price tag on those goods that is to be collected by Customs and Border Protection officials upon arrival.
Meanwhile, some tech industry names have come forward to denounce the tariffs.
According to Cristiano Lima for Politico, “Josh Kallmer of the Information Technology Industry Council said that by moving ahead with the tariffs, the Trump administration ‘will harm American consumers and businesses without addressing discriminatory and systemic Chinese trade practices and policies.’ And Information Technology and Innovation Foundation President Robert Atkinson argues Trump’s efforts are misplaced. ‘Rather than alienate our allies, the administration should focus squarely on those actions that push back against China’s unfair trade practices.'”
Some of these are referring to issues with companies like ZTE, that has been accused of shady privacy practices. The US government actually banned the use of ZTE products, even personal use handsets, from official network connections. However, there are those who think Trump’s actions are nothing more than pandering revenge tactics for China’s refusal to help denuclearize North Korea, a widely anticipated feather in Trump’s cap that has not come to pass.
More trouble ahead?
While the list of items that the US plans to target was deliberately chosen to have as little impact on American consumers as possible, some experts warn that isn’t going to play out. Not only has China responded by lobbing some tariff threats of its own at the US (who would have guessed), and Beijing officials are still considering what that effect will be. However, supply-chain items have already been put under US tariff, so other countries’ goods may also see a price increase when they reach US retailers.
Of course, never to admit defeat or be outdone, the Trump team has already planned additional tariffs on other Chinese goods if they retaliate with punitive tariffs. So far, the Chinese government list includes tariffs on US soybeans, seafood, fish, and other farm goods; hitting the farmers hard would not only have the most impact on US consumers–face it, more people are buying food than smartphones–it would also go after Trump’s most loyal fanbase.