US president delays implementation of a new 10% tariff on Chinese goods to accommodate Christmas shopping season

US President Donald Trump has softened his position on a threat made earlier this month to levy a new 10% tariff on US$300bn worth of Chinese goods not already subject to existing tariffs.

The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) confirmed yesterday that implementation of the proposed new tax on all remaining Chinese goods coming into the US will be delayed until December 15 for a wide range of consumer products including cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, toys, computer monitors, footwear and clothing. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump said: “We’re doing this for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on US customers.”

Additionally, an evolving list of items such as car seats, shipping containers, cranes, fish, and Bibles and other religious materials will be permanently exempted from the new tariffs. Full details are to be published in the US Federal Register as soon as they are finalised.

Frustrated with efforts to forge a trade agreement with China, Trump announced on August 1 that the US would impose a new 10% tariff on more than $300bn worth of Chinese imports. The new tax is expected to drive up costs on a wide range of products used by US boatbuilders and marine equipment manufacturers, for which alternative sources may not be readily available.