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物价上涨!作为消费者的你终要为贸易战买单 Consumers will feel pain from trade war

XFA新华财金 2019-03-13 06:20:34



特朗普政府貌似觉得,中美贸易战再严重,也不会影响到普通消费者。


“关税被分散到了成千上万的商品上,在贸易战结束前,没有人会注意到,”美国商务部长Wilbur Ross昨天在接受CNBC采访时,回应了美国对中国进口商品施加的最新一轮关税。


要说中美贸易战无痛是不可能的。价格上涨最明显的就是洗衣机,美国1月份宣布对进口洗衣机关税提高至20%-50%。


Wilbur Ross说的话听起来有些道理,美国政府已经让关税增加对零售商品价格的冲击降至最低。特朗普本最新发布的2000亿美元商品关税清单中没有包括T恤衫、智能手机等其他大量依赖中国进口的商品。这2000亿美元商品关税只是提高至了10%,到2019年1月1日关税才会提高至25%,所以就目前来讲这一轮关税对今年圣诞元旦假期购物影响有限。


但是,明年开始,这些商品价格肯定会飙涨。


中国方面已经表示采取反击措施。这又使得美国很有可能在本周宣布对另外2670亿美元的中国进口产品征收关税的计划。


而关税最终是对企业和消费者的征税,而且每一轮新关税的实施,都会让美国人民离关税更近一步。


全国零售联合会政府关系高级副总裁David French表示反对政府的做法。“总体而言,家庭预算会受到影响。”


贸易战是如何演变到今天的?

长期以来,美国公司一直对中国贸易规则不满。一方面,中国市场没有完全对美国公司开放;另一方面,美国公司必须将有价值的技术和商业机密和中国合作伙伴共享才能在中国开展业务。


今年6月,特朗普政府表示,和中国的贸易谈判没有达成一致,并宣布对价值500亿美元的中国进口产品征收关税。


第一轮关税的本身是为了最大限度地减少美国消费者的痛苦。其中加关税商品清单中包括中国制造的飞机发动机零件、推土机、滚珠轴承、摩托车以及工业和农业机械。


作为反击,中国对500亿美元的美国进口商品,主要是农产品征收关税,支持特朗普加税的人吃了不少苦果。


由此开始,中美贸易战不断恶化。本周,特朗普表示将对价值2000亿美元的中国产品征收关税,其中包括食品、工具家庭用品等消费品,以及一些(但不是全部)电子产品进口产品。


新的2000亿美元关税将在美国即将到来的圣诞购物节期间有所体现。


由于棉、尼龙、涤纶和纱线等进口材料价格上涨,服装公司将不得不将额外成本转嫁给消费者。


新关税清单中还包括配饰,包括钱包、高尔夫球袋、滑雪手套和连指手套等。


零售商目前还不清楚价格上涨会合适传导到商品架上,不过他们正在为最坏的情况做准备。零售联合会Mr. French表示,相比于今年的假期购物季,消费者更有可能在明年才体会到价格上涨。


但是食品价格上涨传导可能会更快。消费者可能现在开始已经感受到食品价格上涨了。鲈鱼和鲟鱼等鱼类、坚果、水果、蔬菜、大米和谷物都在家关税的范围内。


The Trump administration seems confident that consumers will not feel pain from its escalating trade war with China. “Because it’s spread over thousands and thousands of products, nobody’s going to actually notice it at the end of the day,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Tuesday, when asked about the administration’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese imports.


But a pain-free trade war with China is nearly impossible. For American consumers, prices have already risen on some products that the administration targeted for tariffs this year — most notably, washing machines, which were subjected to steep tariffs in January.


It is true, as Mr. Ross noted earlier in his CNBC interview, that the administration has thus far devised such tariffs to minimize sticker shock on retail store shelves for American customers. The list of imports set to be “tariffed,” as President Trump proclaimed on Monday, still does not include T-shirts, smartphones or many other popular products that American stores import from China. The $200 billion list unveiled on Monday will start with a tax of 10 percent and rise to 25 percent in the New Year, a move that should mute the effect of this round of tariffs on holiday shoppers.


Next year, though, those products will almost certainly grow noticeably more expensive. China has already vowed to retaliate, raising the possibility that Mr. Trump will announce, as soon as this week, that he plans to impose tariffs on another $267 billion in Chinese imports — basically, everything Americans buy from their largest trading partner.


“China has been taking advantage of the United States for a long time, and that's not happening anymore,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We can't let that happen.”


Tariffs are ultimately a tax on businesses and consumers, and with each new round, the administration is bringing them closer to home for the typical American.


Tariffs on thousands of products are “death by a thousand cuts,” said David French, the senior vice president for government relations for the National Retail Federation, which opposes the administration’s approach. “In the aggregate, household budgets will feel the impact.”


How we got here

China’s trade practices have long been a source of frustration for American companies, which are not able to gain access to parts of China’s market and are forced to hand over valuable technology and trade secrets to Chinese partners in exchange for operating there.


In June, the Trump administration said talks to change China’s trade behavior — which had spanned decades — were going nowhere and announced duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.


The first round was intended to minimize pain on American consumers: Chinese aircraft engine parts, bulldozers, ball bearings, motorcycles and industrial and agricultural machinery were among the products targeted initially.


China hit back with tariffs of its own on $50 billion of American products and focused on the agriculture sector — punishing industries whose workers largely supported Mr. Trump.


Things have gone downhill from there. Mr. Trump said he would impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products including consumer items, such as food, tools, housewares and some, but not all, electronics imports.


Our columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin and his Times colleagues help you make sense of major business and policy headlines — and the power-brokers who shape them.


The initial effect of the new $200 billion round of tariffs will be felt just ahead of the holiday shopping season in the United States, when Americans will be looking to stock up on gifts. Higher prices for imported materials such as cotton, nylon, polyester and yarn means that clothing companies will have to pass additional costs onto consumers.


Then there are accessories. The tariffs will apply to imported purses, golf bags, ski gloves and mittens.


Retailers are not sure how fast the price increases will make their way to store shelves but they are bracing for the worst. Mr. French, of the retail federation, said many buyers are more likely to see big price effects next year than during the holidays.


Food could be an exception and consumers could start to see higher prices in the grocery aisles. A wide variety of fish, including sea bass and sturgeon, as well as nuts, fruit, vegetables, rice and cereal did not escape the Trump administration’s tariffs.


Source: The New York Times | Translated by Coral Zhong


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