by WorldTribune Staff, March 23, 2018
Major media reports on U.S. President Donald Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods, such as a CNN report Friday, warned they would lead to a “global trade war.” The New York Times reported that China responded with “cautious anger.”
Downplayed was the fact that China on average imposes tariffs more than two times higher than the U.S.
The U.S. average is 1.61 percent, among the lowest in the world, while China’s average tariff on products is 3.54 percent, according to the World Bank.
Mexico’s average is 4.4 percent.
“Since the turn of the 21st century, U.S. average tariff rates have consistently been at or near their lowest levels in the nation’s history; today, they’re also among the lowest in the world,” said an analysis by the Pew Research Center.
“According to the World Bank, the average applied U.S. tariff across all products was 1.61 percent; that was about the same as the average rate of 1.6 percent for the 28-nation EU.”
Trump on March 22 imposed some $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, as well as tariffs recently placed on imported steel and aluminum and on imports of solar panels and washing machines. China retaliated with its own boost of up to 25 percent.
“Today’s low U.S. tariff levels are the product of a (mostly) bipartisan consensus in favor of progressively freer trade that dates back to the post-World War II era,” the Pew Research Center report noted.
“But that consensus was emphatically not the case for the first 150 years or so of the nation’s history: Tariff policy was the subject of fierce disagreement between Republicans (and earlier, Whigs) who favored high rates to protect American industries from foreign competition, and Democrats who by and large argued that any tariffs higher than necessary to fund the federal government unfairly taxed the many to benefit the few.”