CTA's Shapiro: Congress Needs to Step in to Stop Trump's Trade War

IoT could soon stand for "Internet of Tariffs" if the President follows through with his threat to impose a new 10% tariff on Chinese tech products beginning Sept. 1. The Consumer Technology Association wants Congress to intervene to make sure that doesn't happen.

CTA has continued to argue that those most hurt by tariffs are U.S. companies and consumers, not China. It says the tariffs would affect a laundry list of net-connected products, including smartphones, smart speakers, laptops, tablets, monitors, WiFi routers, smart watches, cable set-top boxes, streaming media players and more.

Related: New Trump Tariffs Would Do Billion Dollar Number on Economy

CTA said Wednesday (Aug. 7) that the threatened new tariff could increase the costs of goods by $1 billion a month on top of the $1.7 billion in tariff hits the tech industry took in June, eight times what it paid in June 2018, even though imports were down 39% due primarily to the tariff.

CTA says that since June 2018, tariffs on China have cost the industry over $10 billion, including $1 billion on products related to the 5G race the President is so focused on winning.

“Tariffs are taxes – and increasing costs on companies puts consumers in the middle of President Trump’s trade war,” said CTA president Gary Shapiro. “While we support the president’s effort to stop China’s forced technology transfers and IP theft, this unpredictable trade policy forces companies to raise the costs of their products, leaving American businesses, workers and families – not China – to pay for these tariffs.

Saying the President does not have unilateral authority on trade policy, Shapiro called on Congress to pass the Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019, which he says would "protect Americans from being crushed by unending trade wars and retaliatory tariffs.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.