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10 Items That Are About to Get More Expensive Thanks to New Tariffs
The U.S.-China trade war could soon affect you at the checkout counter.
An additional 25% tariff on $16 billion worth of imported goods from China went into effect Aug. 23, bringing the total amount of tariffed imports from China to $50 billion. China immediately retaliated with tariffs on U.S. goods.
So far, the trade war has been relatively contained to certain industries, such as farming and food production.
However, the Trump administration is also proposing a 25% tariff on $200 billion worth of imported Chinese goods. The administration intends to expand tariffs to all $505 billion worth of Chinese imports if China continues to retaliate.
“Everything you need to get ready in the morning — from bar soap, makeup, electric shavers, hair appliances and accessories, and even your toilet paper” will be affected by the trade war, said Hun Quach, vice president of international trade for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, in a press release.
The association represents some of the largest retailers in the U.S., including Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Apple and IKEA.
But Wait ― What Is a Tariff?
Basically, a tariff is a tax on goods that we buy from (or sell to) other countries. In this case, it’s a tax on the goods we buy from China. These tariffs are supposed to encourage domestic manufacturing, but historically, increased taxes on imports have increased prices for consumers.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association said that “consumers, not China, will ultimately be the ones paying the tariffs imposed on millions of consumer products,” in the Aug. 23 release.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative published a 205-page list of the latest goods to be tariffed. The deadline for public comment has been extended to Sept. 5.
But don’t worry. We dove into the data for you. We parsed the latest 2018 import and export data from the U.S. Census and compared it with 200 pages of proposed tariffs. We searched for items that met these criteria:
- The item is primarily imported from China.
- At least $1 million worth of the item is imported annually.
- The U.S. does not export the item in high amounts, or at all.
10 Items That Will Be Hit Hardest by the Proposed China Tariffs
The results showed us what consumer products we rely heavily on China to produce. You can expect these products to get more expensive in the coming months.
1. Frozen Fish Fillets
Grab those fillets while they’re hot… or cold? Multiple categories of frozen fish are included, most notably catfish fillets. Alaskan pollock, tilapia and cod are also hit hard.
Percentage imported from China: Catfish, 100%; Pollock, 99%; Tilapia, 84%; Cod, 74%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $717 million
2. Cribs and Cradles
According to Reader's Digest, September is the most popular month to have a baby ― and it’s just in time for tariffs, too.
Percentage imported from China: 99.94%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $83 million
3. Baby Carriages, Including Strollers
First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then come tariffs that affect the price of your baby carriage. Sing it with me!
Percentage imported from China: 96.43%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $282 million
4. Portable Space Heaters
This isn’t looking so bad for Floridians. Yankees may have to kindle the fireplace, though.
Percentage imported from China: 93.96%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $54 million
5. Epsom Salt
You can usually find Epsom salt in little bags near the pharmacy section of major grocery stores. It’s basically magnesium salt, which can be ingested as a muscle relaxer, or you can add it to a nice warm bath. So buy it now and use it to de-stress when prices start to rise.
Percentage imported from China: 92.31%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $2.1 million
6. Christmas Tree Lights
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are thy (unlit) branches!
Percentage imported from China: 89.41%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $112 million
7. Household Refrigerators
Consumers may notice the biggest price increases from tariffs on large appliance purchases, such as fridges. I mean, worst-case scenario, we can all go back to burying our food underground, right?
Percentage imported from China: 85.97%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $248 million
8. Electronic Calculators
We import a wide variety of machines considered to be calculators by the U.S. Census. These figures include calculators that print receipts (like the ones that retailers use) as well as the more traditional types (like the ones from grade school), hence the percentage range below.
Percentage imported from China: 79% to 91.5%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $37 million
9. Vacuum Cleaners and Various Parts
The U.S. Census import data breaks this category down between motorized and nonmotorized vacuum cleaners. Here I thought the nonmotorized vacuums were called brooms. Weird.
Percentage imported from China: 78.98%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $1.71 billion
10. Fully Assembled Bicycles
Census data breaks down imported bicycles by motorized and nonmotorized and also by wheel diameter. These figures are based on nonmotorized bikes with varying wheel sizes, which is why a percentage range is listed below.
Who needs bikes when we have cars, anyway? Oh wait, cars got tariffed, too?
Percentage imported from China: 65.16% to 95.52%
How much we imported from China in first half of 2018: $332 million
Adam Hardy is a reporter and editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder. He dove through hundreds of pages of tariffs and lived to tell the tale. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.
The Penny Hoarder’s data journalist, Alex Mahadevan, provided crucial data research and moral support for this story.