Trump's China, Metals Tariffs Reach $4 Billion in New Revenue

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. calculates that new tariffs on imports of Chinese products, steel and aluminum could generate an additional $4 billion in revenue so far, as President Donald Trump makes the case that the duties put the U.S. in a strong bargaining position.

As of Wednesday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection assessed $2.2 billion in tariffs on imported steel and $625.4 million on aluminum, as well as $1.2 billion in duties on Chinese imports, according to the agency’s data. The amount represents additional federal income from levies imposed on foreign imports of the metals and Chinese products this year.

Actual collections and deposits into the U.S. Treasury may be lower because importers and companies can file for refunds, returns and drawbacks, a process that can take as long as six months, the agency said.

Trump imposed the metals tariffs from March and has been adding duties on Chinese goods in stages, starting with a 25 percent levy on $34 billion in goods in July and on an additional $16 billion in August.

A 10 percent levy will take effect Sept. 24 on $200 billion in additional Chinese products -- increasing to 25 percent in January if Beijing doesn’t offer trade concessions -- and Trump has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports. China and other countries are retaliating with duties on U.S. exports.

“Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country - and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable,” Trump said in a tweet on Monday. “If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be ‘Tariffed!’”

Companies and business groups have complained that while action is needed on trade, tariffs are the wrong approach. They say the short-term economic pain from higher costs for consumers and lost jobs that the duties and retaliatory tariffs produce will not create long-term benefits.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.