U.S – China tariff impact report: Chinese producers pay for most of tariff, U.S consumers see minimal impact

In June 2018 President Trump instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to initiate a 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods (Round #1).  After two months of China refusing to negotiate renewed trade deals in good faith President Trump instructed Lighthizer to increase the tariff rate to 25% in August (Round #2).  There is a third tranche of tariffs scheduled for January 1st, 2019.

With a full quarter of trade data to analyze the impacts, the results are now measurable.  A multinational group studying the outcome (full pdf below), identified that approximately 4.5% of the tariff is being carried by American consumers.  The overwhelming cost of the tariff is being paid (20.5% absorbed) by Chinese producers.

(Via Bloomberg) President Donald Trump is succeeding in making China pay most of the cost of his trade war.

That’s the conclusion of a new paper from EconPol Europe, a network of researchers in the European Union. U.S. companies and consumers will only pay 4.5 percent more after the nation imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and the other 20.5 percent toll will fall on Chinese producers, according to authors Benedikt Zoller-Rydzek and Gabriel Felbermayr.

[…] “Through its strategic choice of Chinese products, the U.S. government was not only able to minimize the negative effects on U.S. consumers and firms, but also to create substantial net welfare gains in the U.S.,” the researchers wrote.  (read more)

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In June and July last year it became obvious President Trump was going to initiate a full-frontal geopolitical confrontation with China based on their ambitions for economic conquest.  We labeled the confrontation: Eagle -vs- Red Dragon.

Specifically around: intellectual property theft; massive U.S. trade imbalances; imposed tariffs, and ridiculous non-tariff barriers put in place by China, we anticipated the conflict would eventually force Beijing to drop the Panda mask and expose their economic intentions.  Additionally there was clarity within President Trump’s approach for any observer who was willing to accept the history of Mr. Trump’s views on the larger issues. In short, POTUS Trump will not back down.

In March of 2018 U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer completed a section 301 review of China’s trade practices.  [SEE HERE] Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974authorizes the President to take all appropriate action, including retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.  However, as talks with China progressed, President Trump shelved the 301 action to see where negotiations would end-up.

Due to the severity of communist ideology, and the intransigence of China to make any modification to their global economic plans, Chairman Xi Jinping made the strategic decision to elevate the confrontation in full Red Dragon mode.  The May and June, 2018, negotiations between the U.S. and China provided no progress.  The 301 review of China was pulled back off the shelf in August 2018, and President Trump began executing his trade-war strategy.

When President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced tariffs on Steel and Aluminum, in combination with Round #1 tariffs on imported Chinese products, the Wall Street financial media went bananas with dire predictions of inflation.

However, in September and October the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) released the August and Sept measures of inflation in consumer goods.  Despite the doom-and-gloom predictions from the self-interested multinationals, the inflation rate is still below 0.2% the same result as July ’18.  Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food components, is hovering between 0.1% and 0.2% overall.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 250,000 in October, following an average monthly gain of 211,000 over the prior 12 months. In October, job growth occurred in health care, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing. (See table B-1.)

Low inflation; expanding employment opportunity; low unemployment; and rising wages.

These measures all have a cumulative impact on paycheck-to-paycheck Americans.  Prices for durable goods are stable and wage growth is exceeding inflation.  That means more disposable income in the middle-class…. which, when combined with the increased pay from lower middle-class tax rates, is exactly the intended outcome of MAGAnomics.

This creates a situation where the U.S. consumer can fuel the the U.S. economy while President Trump, Secretary Ross, Secretary Mnuchin and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer utilize the leverage within tariffs, to negotiate better America-First trade deals.

President Trump’s economic policy cabinet is the most effective group of individuals every assembled in modern U.S. history; arguably in all of U.S. history.   The economic policy plans are working exactly as projected; and, in combination with the domestic economic strength, this empowers President Trump’s international engagements with a stunning amount of influence and leverage.

Economic Security is National Security.  We are seeing this multidimensional truth being carried out for the first time in our lifetimes, thanks to a blue-collar billionaire.

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