Consumers are already seeing price hikes from the last round of Trump's tariffs

Samantha Masunaga and James F. Peltz, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

President Trump has repeatedly proclaimed that when it comes to tariffs on Chinese goods, China pays the price.

But it's U.S. consumers who actually pay, if export and import firms and manufacturers choose to pass along the cost. And trade groups and economic studies show that U.S. consumers already are seeing higher prices on a range of items -- luggage and major appliances such as washing machines, for instance -- that were subject to previous tit-for-tat tariffs in the U.S.' escalating trade battle with China or retaliatory tariffs from other foreign countries.

With the Trump administration's tariff increase from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods announced Friday, prices could rise on other goods as well. China retaliated Monday with tariffs ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on $60 billion of U.S. goods.

The tariffs so far appear to have had a modest impact on overall inflation. The U.S. consumer price index for the 12 months that ended in April, excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, rose 2.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was little changed from the prior four months, when the CPI showed trailing 12-month increases of 2.0 percent to 2.2 percent.

However, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a report that when they grouped together nine of the CPI product categories affected by the tariffs so far, including laundry and other appliances, furniture and auto parts, it showed those consumer prices increased "much more" than other core goods prices in the CPI.

When the additional tariff costs consumers paid in the latter part of last year are annualized, the cost per household is about $419, said David Weinstein, a professor of economics at Columbia University who coauthored a working paper released by London's Centre for Economic Policy Research on the effect of the Trump administration's 2018 trade policy on U.S. prices.


If the additional tariffs announced by the Trump administration last week are implemented and stay in place for a year, that annualized consumer cost is likely to double, Weinstein said.

"When tariffs get really high, exporters stop supplying product and the tariff stops producing any revenue," he said.

Here are some of the items whose prices have already risen or are expected to increase.



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