What just happened? U.S. gamers can once again breathe a sigh of relief after the government delayed re-imposing tariffs on Chinese goods for another five months, a move that would affect prices of graphics cards and other hardware. The Trump-era tariffs’ re-introduction has been put off several times, with many industry groups hoping they will be killed entirely.
It was back in 2018 when then-President Trump told the Office of US Trade Representative (USTR) to create tariffs of up to 25% on Chinese-manufactured goods. The 437 affected products include components used in the manufacture of PCBs and computer hardware, including graphics cards.
Trump himself suspended the tariffs from September 2019 until January 2021, after which point graphics card prices increased. The Biden administration lifted tariffs temporarily in 2022 over the harm they were causing businesses and the economy in general. This was supposed to last until December 2022, but the USTR extended the pause for nine months, which later became twelve months.
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As PCMag reports, the USTR is delaying the tariffs’ return for another five months, meaning they won’t be reimposed until at least May 31 this year. The news has been welcomed by pretty much everyone, but the Americans for Free Trade (AFT) group says announcing the delay on December 26, so close to the December 31 expiry date, caused problems.
“We are frustrated that USTR announced this short-term extension with little notice, making it difficult for businesses to plan,” the AFT said in a statement.
Like many trade groups, the AFT appreciates the USTR delaying the tariffs but still wants them scrapped permanently. It writes that this “failed tariff policy” will slow the progress the United States has made in combating inflation and create more dislocation, inefficiencies, and potential job loss across the economy. It would also push up the prices of PC hardware, of course.
The USTR started a four-year review of the tariffs in May 2022 that has collected hundreds of comments from businesses negatively impacted by them. The AFT wants the agency to release the results of the review immediately.
“We are disappointed that USTR continues to drag out this review despite receiving hundreds of comments from businesses large and small who have been negatively impacted by the tariffs,” the AFT says.