Trump’s China tariffs hit US businesses, consumers hardest: Moody’s

The tariffs implemented during former President Trump’s trade war with China hit American businesses and consumers hardest, according to new report from Moody’s Investor Services.

On average, just 7.6 percent of the U.S. tariffs ended up being absorbed by China, while the rest of the tab was picked up by Americans.

For Chinese products that saw tariff rates rise to 20 percent, about 95 percent of the cost ended up being paid by U.S. consumers. But when China imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, a significant portion of the cost fell on American businesses.

“U.S. exporters, unlike China’s exporters, lowered by roughly 50% the prices of goods affected by foreign retaliatory tariffs, carrying a much higher cost burden than foreign importers of goods under U.S. tariffs,” Moody’s Associate Analyst Dima Cvetkova wrote in the report the released Monday.

The reason for the disparity has to do with the kinds of goods that were targeted by each side in the trade war, and how some are easier than others to source elsewhere.

The Moody’s report also found that U.S. importers absorbed most of the costs, passing only a small percentage onto consumers in the form of higher prices.

President Biden came into office opposing the tariffs, which now cover half of all bilateral trade flows with China, but has yet to remove them.

Instead, he has said they can be used as leverage in trade negotiations with China, the same strategy employed by Trump when he imposed the tariffs in the first place.

Biden has said he would work more closely with allies to create a united pressure front on China.

Tags China Donald Trump Joe Biden Tariffs trade war

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