Trump Folds, Delays Tariff Hike On Key Consumer Goods Until December

Trump Folds, Delays Tariff Hike On Key Consumer Goods Until December

No sooner had Donald Trump tweeted in defense of the ongoing trade war with Beijing, than a veritable deluge of market-friendly headlines crossed, sending stocks sharply higher in morning trading on Wall Street.

Apparently concerned about the prospect of rising consumer prices in the next round of tariffs, the USTR announced on Tuesday that the Trump administration will delay until December 15 an additional 10% levy on select Chinese goods. Those goods are:

  • Cell phones
  • Laptop computers
  • Video game consoles
  • Certain toys
  • Computer monitors, and
  • Certain items of footwear and clothing

The USTR subsequently published the full lists for each effective date. You can scroll through them below. Stocks exploded higher on the news, erasing Monday’s steep losses – for now anyway.

The USTR’s announcement came just minutes after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said he spoke with Bob Lighthizer and Steve Mnuchin on the phone today. Apparently, the three will chat again in two weeks.

That would appear to leave the door open for September principal-level negotiations to move forward, despite Trump having cast considerable doubt on the scheduled talks late last week, telling reporters he was indifferent to the situation.

The offshore yuan surged the most this year on the news.

For his part, Trump continued to sound skeptical. “As usual, China said they were going to be buying ‘big’ from our great American Farmers [but] so far they have not done what they said”, he tweeted, just as the market was digesting the headline deluge. “Maybe this will be different!”, he went on the exclaim.

In a statement, China’s Ministry of Commerce said Beijing had “strongly protested” the planned tariff escalation on September 1.

Tellingly, PBoC boss Yi Gang was on the call with Lighthizer and Mnuchin – as was Commerce Minister Zhong Shan and NDRC Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe.

Full press release from the USTR


Washington, DC – The United States Trade Representative (USTR) today announced the next steps in the process of imposing an additional tariff of 10 percent on approximately $300 billion of Chinese imports.

On May 17, 2019, USTR published a list of products imported from China that would be potentially subject to an additional 10 percent tariff.  This new tariff will go into effect on September 1 as announced by President Trump on August 1.

Certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent.

Further, as part of USTR’s public comment and hearing process, it was determined that the tariff should be delayed to December 15 for certain articles.  Products in this group include, for example, cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.

USTR intends to conduct an exclusion process for products subject to the additional tariff.

List A (Effective September 1)


List B (Effective December 15)


13 thoughts on “Trump Folds, Delays Tariff Hike On Key Consumer Goods Until December

    1. No shit — not only does it seem likely that trump is playing the markets for private gain, getting away with murder — but I totally believe China is playing the manipulation game with trump. Instead of banks front running SEC & DOJ rules, we have a president jumping in and out of markets like a Estonian hooker going from bed to bed, like clockwork. This is amazingly pathetic to watch, but perhaps one needs to not fight the reality of irrational behavior? Somehow that doesn’t feel right and seems unsustainable!

  1. Cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing are all absolutely necessary for our health, safety, and national security.

    Dogpatch gottta find somethin’ necessary, don’t they?

    MARRYIN’ SAM: How about this genuine Dogpatch alarm clock?
    DR. FINSDALE: How do it work?
    MARRYIN’ SAM: You sets the clock. When the alarm rings and you reaches a hand to shut it off, a gopher comes outta this little hole and bites yo’ wrist. As you reaches fo’ a stick to whomp him, you rubs against this little button, this hand comes down and bashes you on the head, puttin’ you back to sleep!
    DR. FINSDALE: But if you go back to sleep, you’re late for work; if you’re late for work you lose your job; you lose your job you’re unemployed; you’re unemployed the government’s got to support you.
    MARRYIN’ SAM: You gets the idea.

  2. Sure must be tough staying up all night writing all these posts and have Trumpy Man come out in the morning and deal you a hand from the bottom of the deck…. Wonder just how long this erratic behavior can last before like Chicken Little predicted the sky falls ???

    1. It is ceaselessly amazing how mechanical deleveraging CTAs in a poor liquidity environment with no market depth because the frat of Delta Alpha Gamma flipped negative on hedges or whatever goes away the second anybody says boo. The market can rocket 2+% any day on any pretence from the Administration.

      1. Question Harvey…..? Do you suppose the ” this time is different ” crowd is seizing on the mechanical deleveraging for a core part of their belief… I find it hard to predict and try to develop actionable ideas… I stay in fringe areas of the market where liquidity crisis is minimized…. Charlie M really seems to help with this Gamma flipping thinking but even He seems to get caught off balance as I perceive some of his content..

  3. I wonder how much of the $300BN is represented by “health, safety, national security” and “cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing”?

    My guesstimate is about half ($141BN),

    That’s from Census Bureau data. I counted all cellphones ($71BN), everything related to drugs/medical/lab ($9BN), 60% of computers ($28BN), a small amount of computer accessories and TV/video ($15BN), and about 1/5 of all toys/apparel/footwear ($19BN). Plenty of guesses there.

    1. Oh, I just saw List 4B. I assume someone on the Street will be doing more precise calcs. Interesting oppty to see tariff impact on certain stocks. E.g. on a quick scan List 4B does not seem to include sports footwear >$6.50/pr, if that’s right, maybe that’s why NKE isn’t doing much. But it includes lots of cheap plastic stuff, and maybe that’s why DLTR and HAS is moving.

  4. I will say one thing for the administration. They try to think things though. It’s unfortunate that their motivations and actions are so transparent. They lose any little integrity that they have left. They must be profiting handsomely from all of this volatility in the markets.

    I guess the delay until December will give the administration more time to hammer down on the Fed for those few extra rate cuts, given that the lastest CPI data might postpone the Sept. rate cut. Then resolve the trade war over the next 4 months, low rates, booming stock market, and perhaps the election will go well……

    Hopefully, we still live in a democracy and the voters will see through this mess.

  5. What-if, in the big picture, looking forward, what would it take for bond yields to explode upward and the equity market to crash? How could trump manipulate the market, to actually make things better? He’s way behind with employment creation (versus Obama) way behind with stock market growth, housing stalling, markets near turmoil, etc., thus how does our racist leader make America Great, or as it looks more and more, how will trump destroy the American economy and get re-elected>

  6. Shouldn’t we not get it by now? It’s all become a ‘Rope-a-Dope’. Yes, yes it’s hard to tell who’s Foreman or that other guy.

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