August 14, 2019
Shares of Best Buy, Roku, Apple and other consumer electronics retailers/manufactures rebounded after President Trump delayed until Dec. 15 a proposed new 10% tariff on cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles and other goods manufactured in China.
The tariff on $300 billion worth of products, which Trump announced Aug. 1 as part of ongoing trade tensions with the world’s No. 2 economic power, would have been on top of an existing 25% tariff Trump previously imposed on $250 billion worth of other Chinese goods.
The delay came after intense lobbying efforts in the nation’s capital convinced administration officials the new tariff could have serious implications to the U.S. economy entering the fourth quarter.
“Just in case they might have an impact on people … what we’ve done is we’ve delayed it so they won’t be relevant for the Christmas shopping season,” Trump told reporters on Aug. 13.
The news was welcomed by Wall Street, which saw shares of Best Buy, Apple and Roku rise 6.5%, 4% and 1%, respectively.
Roku is one of the largest manufacturer of Internet-connected televisions, with many originating from China.
But to the Consumer Technology Association trade group, delaying proposed tariffs only prolongs market uncertainty and impacts consumers 401(K) pension or retirement accounts, among other issues.
“Retaliatory tariffs are bad economic policy in the short and long term,” Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CTA, said in a statement. “The administration’s legally dubious trade war is compromising America’s global leadership.”
Previously-announced tariffs starting Sep. 1 will affect $52 billion in consumer technology products, and the tariffs starting Dec. 15 will affect $115 billion in products. Since July 2018, Section 301 tariffs on China have cost the consumer tech industry over $10 billion, including $1 billion on 5G-related products, according to the CTA.
“Tariffs are taxes,” Shapiro said. “The Chinese government doesn’t pay for them – Americans bear the burden. And next month, we’ll begin to pay more for some of our favorite tech devices – including TVs, smart speakers and desktop computers. The administration should permanently remove these harmful tariffs and find another way to hold China accountable for its unfair trading practices.”