Survey finds: U.S. tariffs lead to reduced imports from China, other countries benefit

U.S. imports from China are falling sharply as a result of U.S. tariff increases on Chinese goods, with major changes in the types of goods imported at the same time, with purchases of telecommunications equipment, furniture, clothing and other goods shifting to other countries, The Wall Street Journal revealed Wednesday in response to an analysis of trade data.

The data show that nearly two-thirds of U.S. imports from China in 2018 and 2019 are among the tariffs imposed by the United States, equivalent to roughly $370 billion in annual imports. But as of now, the relevant U.S. tariffs cover only half of China’s exports to the U.S., equivalent to $250 billion in annual imports, because U.S. companies are sourcing more goods from other countries.

The U.S. Trump administration has reportedly imposed tariffs on Chinese goods since 2018 as a way to sanction the serious imbalance in U.S.-China trade, the theft of intellectual property from China, and to promote the productive capacity of U.S. companies. U.S. importers have also turned to other Asian countries for supplies, with Vietnam benefiting greatly from this, now jumping to 6th place in global exports to the United States.

The Wall Street Journal survey found that telecommunications equipment and computer parts were the goods hit hardest by U.S. tariffs on the Chinese side, with imports down by about $15 billion each from their 2018 peaks. But at the same time, the U.S. Treasury’s tariff revenue from importers is falling along with it.