Trump Delays Tariffs On Laptops, Phones—but Not Desktop PCs

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The Trump administration’s plan to impose tariffs on smartphones, laptops, and video game consoles imported from China has been postponed from this September to December 15.

On Tuesday, the US Trade Representative’s office announced the change, which means many consumer electronics will be spared from a 10 percent tariff during this year’s holiday shopping season.

The tech industry has been warning the White House the tariffs risk increasing the cost of consumer electronics, many of which are assembled in Chinese factories. Apparently, the Trump administration was listening.

“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,” the US Trade Representative’s office said in today’s announcement. Other products exempted are computer monitors, headphones, and keyboards, as well as toys and sports shoes.

Not every item was spared. The US still plans on imposing the 10 percent tariff on hundreds of other Chinese imports this September. They include Chinese-made TV display panels, cameras, lithium-ion batteries, and solid-state memory drives. But the US Trade Representative’s office says it’ll conduct an “exclusion process” to determine whether certain imports should be pulled from the tariff list.

Today’s announcement occurs as the US has been locked in a trade war with China. The White House has already imposed a 25 percent tariff on $ 250 billion worth of Chinese imports, which include desktop PCs and components such as motherboards, graphics cards and CPU coolers. As a result, many tech vendors and their suppliers have been considering moving their manufacturing out of China to avoid paying the tariffs. But other vendors say they’ve had to pass the added costs to consumers.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to note that the US appears to have already tariffed desktop PCs under the tariff code 8471.50.01.

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