New round of proposed tariffs would hit US consumers

Experts say most consumers won't feel impact from trade war -- just yet

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Americans could soon find themselves paying more for goods they might not have known were imported from China. It's a potential consequence of a new round of tariffs the Trump administration is proposing to slap on Chinese imports as soon as September.

It also marks a new phase in the U.S. trade war with China. Before now, the administration had scrupulously avoided slapping tariffs on consumer goods in order to spare U.S. shoppers from direct economic pain. But late Tuesday, when the administration issued a list of 6,000 products worth $200 billion that it proposes to hit with 10 percent tariffs, it included consumer items ranging from hats and handbags to seafood, vacuum cleaners, toilet paper and burglar alarms.

The administration will hold hearings on the proposed list late next month. President Donald Trump is threatening to impose the tariffs in retaliation for duties that China slapped on $34 billion of U.S. goods on Friday. Those duties, in turn, were a response to new tariffs the United States had imposed on China.

If China were to back down, the Trump administration might hold off on the newest tariffs. But according to economists, Beijing is unlikely to do so.

With more potential tariffs on the way, many Americans are wondering what impact they could feel.

"At this point, it's mostly jockeying for position," Joe Krier, senior wealth strategist at ACG Wealth in Jacksonville, told News4Jax on Wednesday. "We're not seeing prices go up just yet."

Krier said the tariffs mainly impact imports, such as cars and electronics. As for exports, it’s primarily soybeans, poultry and other agricultural products. 

The good news, according to Krier, is that consumers most likely won’t pay more for these products just yet.

But if the trade war continues, manufacturers may have to pass that price onto consumers or take the hit financially. 

“General Motors is going to have to pay more when they bring some of their cars that are assembled overseas, and eventually that’s going to trickle over to consumers," Krier said. "Companies are making decisions right now, or halting decisions based on waiting to see how this is going to play out.”

According to the Florida Farm Bureau, the farming industry is one of those waiting to see what happens. A spokesperson said farmers in Florida and the entire U.S. rely on export markets. In the long run, the spokesperson said, it could be good for Florida farmers if an agreement is eventually reached. 

Krier said the major impact right now is just fear within industries. In the long run, he said, it could be a good thing for the U.S. if they are able to come to an agreement.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.