September 18, 2019
Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports reached unusually high numbers just before new tariffs on goods from China took effect September 1, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates. The Washington, D.C.-based retail trade association also predicts imports are expected to surge again before another round of tariffs takes effect in December.
NRF’S Jonathan Gold says, “Retailers are still trying to minimize the impact of the trade war on consumers by bringing in as much merchandise as they can before each new round of tariffs takes effect and drives up prices. That’s the same pattern we’ve seen over the past year, but we’re very quickly going to be at the point where virtually all consumer goods will be subject to these taxes on American families.”
U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.96 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 9.1% from June and up 2.9% year-over-year.
New 15% tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China took effect at the beginning of this month, and are scheduled to be expanded to additional goods on December 15 – covering a total of about $300 billion in imports. In addition, 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of imports already imposed over the past year will increase to 30% on October 1.
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