- The Trump Administration tariffs have been in place for several weeks. Will the trade war cost you more for the things you buy?
- “Absolutely,” said Matt Gold, a former U.S. trade official, to CNBC’s “On The Money.”
The Trump Administration’s tariffs have been in place for several weeks, generating fears for the global economy.
So could a trade war cost consumers more for the things they buy, as some economists have predicted?
“Absolutely, you’re going to see higher prices passed on to consumers…almost immediately” Matt Gold, a former deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative for North America under former President Barack Obama, told CNBC recently.
“A lot of goods are already warehoused that were imported months ago, so it takes a bit of time to catch up, but prices catch up pretty fast,” he added.
Given that tariffs is a duty imposed by a government on goods imported from other countries, the costs are often passed along to consumers via high prices.
“The way it works is that a U.S. importer pays the taxes to the customs duties or customs tariffs to the U.S. Treasury,” Gold explained. “Of course, that’s going to effect the sale price [and] whatever price at which the exporter sells to the importer is going to lower, because the importer has to pay duties in addition to paying the purchase price.”
Gold added that for consumers, those higher costs will be spread “really across the board.”
“With Chinese retaliatory tariffs, we’ve imposed those on $34 billion of different goods coming from China. It’s a very broad array of consumer products, industrial products,” he said.
“So everything from the person who walks into Walmart is going to pay higher prices as well as the manufacturer buying material imports for their manufacturing processes,” the former official added.
Steel and aluminum tariffs have been in place since for almost two months. And just this week, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said tariffs are part of the rising costs that may result in higher drink prices.
Meanwhile, the agriculture industry and farmers in particular have been impacted by retaliatory tariffs.
This week, the USDA proposed $12 billion in aid for U.S. farmers. According to the Dept. of Agriculture, relief would include direct payments to soybean, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and pork producers impacted by tariff retaliation. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/24/trumps-12-billion-aid-for-farmers-risks-unintended-consequences.html
Gold, who was the United States’ lead negotiator and policy advisor focused on North American trade, warned that labor costs could be another downside in a trade war.
“It also costs jobs, because those U.S. manufacturers have trouble competing with foreign imports,” Gold told CNBC.