New tariffs on imports from China begin Sunday

Pedestrians walk by a store specializing in American fashion, and displaying a bench shaped as a U.S. missile, in Beijing, China, on August 14. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Sept. 1 (UPI) — U.S. tariffs of 15 percent on items including clothing and food imported from China went into effect Sunday.

Trade talks with China are still planned for September, President Donald Trump told reporters Sunday.

The latest round of tariffs, which affect imports that were valued at $111 billion last year, brings the average U.S. tariff on Chinese imports to 21.2 percent, up from 3.1 percent in January 2018, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Additional tariffs postponed until December would bring that average to 24.3 percent.

China has responded with retaliatory tariffs planned to raise its average tariff on imports from the United States from 16.5 percent to 25.9 percent during the same time. These include a a 33 percent tariff on American soybeans that began Sunday.

“Absolutely worth it, we don’t want to be servants to the Chinese!” Trump said Sunday on Twitter, citing economist Peter Morici, who told Fox News on Sunday that the tariffs wouldn’t affect consumers as much as critics say. “This is about American Freedom. Redirect the supply chain. There is no reason to buy everything from China!”

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Morici said the effects for average U.S. consumers will be buffered by a decrease in Chinese currency and decreases in prices as importers seek suppliers outside of China.

Critics say the tariffs are harmful for American consumers and businesses.

“The tariffs-import taxes by any other name-are or will cost every American household between $600 and $1,000 by the end of the year,” said Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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