US removes some China furniture, modems from planned 10pc tariffs

Reuters . Washington | Published: 00:00, Aug 18,2019


A file photo shows containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China August 6, 2019. — Reuters photo

The Trump administration is sparing some Chinese-made household furniture, baby items and internet modems and routers from its next rounds of 10 per cent tariffs, it said on Friday.

The US Trade Representative’s office released a complete list of the items that were removed from $300 billion in tariffs scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 1 and December 15, some of which had already been hit with 25 per cent tariffs.

Trump on Tuesday delayed more than half of the proposed tariffs until December, saying it would help shield businesses and consumers from the US-China trade war fallout during the Christmas selling season.

The new list of 44 categories of spared imports, worth about $7.8 billion according to US Census Bureau data, also includes some chemical compounds used in the manufacture of plastics. Reuters previously reported that bibles and religious texts would be spared from the tariff list.

Modems and routers made in China were part of a $200 billion list of products hit with tariffs last September that have since been raised to 25 per cent. Friday’s exclusion would avoid a further 10 per cent hike as Trump imposes tariffs on September 1 to products in the same broad customs category, including smart watches, smart speakers and Bluetooth headphones.

The bulk of the items removed from the tariff list were furniture products, including wooden- and metal-framed chairs and those made of plastics. Some of these were previously hit with tariffs as part of broader furniture categories.

Baby-related furniture items also were spared, including toddler beds, bassinets, cradles, strollers and children’s seats.

The $114 billion retail furniture industry has been among the sector’s hardest hit with price increases due to Trump’s tariffs, which rose to 25 per cent in May.

The US Labour Department said on Tuesday that the price index for household furnishings rose 0.4 per cent in July, marking its third consecutive monthly increase and contributing to broad-based growth in consumer prices during July.

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