President Donald Trump has denied at many points during his presidency that the trade war with China has hurt American consumers — but in a statement on Tuesday, he may have slipped up, and admitted that the tariffs imposed on Beijing are not being paid for by them, but by customers in the U.S.
Trump announced that a set of tariffs, set to be imposed on China at the start of next month, would be delayed until December, unless a trade deal between the two nations can be hammered out by then. The markets on the New York Stock Exchange responded positively to the news.
Interestingly, however, were the comments Trump made after making the announcement, as they seemed to contradict assurances he’s given in the past regarding the trade strategy he’s employed.
“We’re doing this for the Christmas season,” Trump explained on Tuesday, according to New York Magazine. “Just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers.”
Trump finally acknowledges his tariffs could hit consumers https://t.co/dldbYpiRxy There is a first for everything, Trump now admits his tariffs will hit consumers, not be paid by China as originally stated.
— Michael Wright (@mswright353) August 14, 2019
The comments from the president seem to imply that the tariffs imposed on China do indeed affect the price of consumer goods.
The comments were likely a slip-up from the president, who has frequently claimed that tariffs are being paid for by China, and not the American consumer class.
That line of thinking, however, bucks conventional economic wisdom on the subject — tariffs are taxes on imported goods, which companies typically pay for by increasing the retail costs of the products they sell, the Washington Post reported.
Indeed, the numbers tell a different story. Goldman Sachs analysts measured Consumer Price Indexes on a number of goods, and found that nine of the categories, those that were affected by the tariffs, saw a measurable increase in inflation costs to consumers, versus products that were not subject to tariffs, the Los Angeles Times reported.