Watch Now

USTR delaying tariffs on phones, laptops from China

Some tech goods, including cellphones, laptops and video game consoles, won’t be subject to Section 301 tariffs when a new round takes effect September 1.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is delaying until December 15 the imposition of tariffs on some goods included on a list of $300 billion worth of products from China set to be subject to new trade remedies, USTR announced August 13.  

While a fourth round of Section 301 tariffs on goods from China is set to start taking effect on September 1, tariffs on products including cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, certain footwear and apparel, certain agricultural products and certain chemicals, among other goods, won’t take effect until December 15, USTR said.

The tariffs will be assessed at a rate of 10%.

Further, certain products are being removed from the proposed $300 billion tariff list released May 17, based on health, safety, national security and other factors, and will not face 10% tariffs, USTR said.

The agency intends to conduct an exclusion process for products on Section 301 lists 4A (September 1 effective date) and 4B (December 15 effective date).

List 4B includes tariff subheadings listed across 21 pages, while List 4A contains tariff subheadings spread across 122 pages.

Analysis by global trade data company Panjiva, S&P Global Market Intelligence shows that the fourth tranche of planned China tariffs comprised about $262.6 billion worth of goods from China total in the 12 months preceding June 30.

The largest product groups on List 4A include apparel worth $38.8 billion and TVs and monitors worth $8.55 billion, while the largest product groups on List 4B include phones worth $39.9 billion, laptops worth $39.1 billion, toys/games worth $21.3 billion, and other apparel items worth $11.9 billion.

The tariff deferral may reduce disruptions during peak shipping season, according to Panjiva.

Speaking on Fox Business on Aug. 13, Steve Pasierb, CEO of The Toy Association, said “thank goodness” was the reaction of his group to USTR’s announcement that it would postpone tariffs for some goods listed in the fourth tranche of Section 301 tariffs.

The next four months are the most important four months of the year, as holiday season approaches, he said.

“Our members are kind of sorting out what [the tariff] impacts are, but largely, they’re very pleased to have this through the holiday season,” Pasierb said. “Really, it gets us into…planning for next holiday. When they’re sitting down with retailers, they can have a very different conversation this year.”

Brian Bradley

Based in Washington, D.C., Brian covers international trade policy for American Shipper and FreightWaves. In the past, he covered nuclear defense, environmental cleanup, crime, sports, and trade at various industry and local publications.