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How Additional China Tariffs Could Hit Your Wallet Harder Than Expected

May 7, 2019, 3:53 PM UTC

Donald Trump’s Sunday threat to once again raise tariffs on Chinese goods has brought volatility to Wall Street and confusion to some political onlookers. For the average consumer, though, it could bring some financial pain.

The White House now says the higher tariffs, which will jump from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, will begin on Friday. A second round of 25% tariffs on another $325 billion of products from the country could begin “shortly.” And it’s that second round that could dramatically impact wallets.

“Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers, not by China,” said David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation in a statement. “A sudden tariff increase with less than a week’s notice would severely disrupt U.S. businesses, especially small companies that have limited resources to mitigate the impact. If the administration follows through on this threat, American consumers will face higher prices and U.S. jobs will be lost.”

More specifically, Americans will see higher prices at stores where they’ve come to expect bargains—stores like Walmart, Target and Lowe’s.

Nearly 6,000 products will be included in the tariff, including common items such as furniture, clothing, shampoo, cereal, perfume, bed sheets, electronics, and purses.

Walmart and Target shoppers are especially at risk for higher prices, since both stores are loaded with China-made goods. Lowe’s could see the price of hammers, screwdrivers and equipment parts escalate as well.

What does that mean in real dollars? A study by the Center for Economic Policy Research found the Trump administration’s 2018’s tariffs cost U.S. consumers $1.4 billion per month. And a separate study from UCLA found workers “in heavily Republican counties were the most negatively affected by the trade war.”

Of course, this could all just be a new round of political rhetoric. China’s trade negotiator is still coming to the U.S. after Trump’s threats. Wall Street remains worried, though. As of 11:15am ET on Tuesday, the Dow was down more than 370 points.

More on the U.S.-China tariff war:

—Trump’s latest rant in the China tariff war renews concerns for consumers

—China’s top negotiator heads to Washington

Investors remember December as Trump tweets about tariffs (again)

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