Tariffs on flamethrowers?


As Bloomberg has pointed out, “When you export half a trillion bucks worth of stuff to the US, there’s bound to be some unusual items in the mix.” The news agency and other media sources last week pored through the Trump administration’s list of Chinese imports which are set to be targeted with 25% tariffs. Among the hundreds of items there are quite a few that have people scratching their heads. Who knew that American consumers were buying items from China like flame throwers and fetal bovine serum? And in the age of Apple Music and Spotify it seems strange that the US Trade Representative’s Office thinks it is worth slapping tariffs on music cassette tapes – a product more associated with the 1980s. Other unusual items included on the tariff list: rocket launchers (if for private use), “haymaking machinery other than mowers” and nuclear reactors.

Bloomberg reported that the USTR said the list was compiled after analysts at US government agencies “identified items that benefit from Chinese industrial policies” or are “likely to cause disruption to the US economy”.

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