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US delays tariff on game consoles

Trump says extra tax on some electronic products made in China won't go into effect until December 15 to lessen impact on holiday shopping

The United States is pushing back plans to impose additional tariffs on video game consoles coming from China. The Office of the US Trade Representative today announced that certain types of electronics and toys would not see a 10% tariff imposed on them until December 15.

Previously, that tariff would have gone into effect September 1. A wide array of products coming from China (everything from cameras and clothes to food and construction materials) are still scheduled to see a 10% tariff imposed on that date. Arcade games and their replacement parts are among the items still on that list.

In remarks to the press today, President Donald Trump explained the delay was taken to minimize impact on the holiday shopping season.

"We're doing this for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers, which, so far, they've had virtually none," Trump said. "The only impact has been that we've collected almost $60 billion from China - compliments of China. But just in case they might have an impact on people, what we've done is we've delayed it so that they won't be relevant for the Christmas shopping season."

Contrary to Trump's implication, tariffs are not paid by the country from which the goods come. They are a tax paid by companies on goods being brought into the country, and typically end up passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

The Trump administration had originally been considering tariffs of up to 25% on goods coming from China. That proposal prompted a number of companies, including Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony to pen public letters explaining how such tariffs would hurt their businesses.

"In particular, tariffs on video game consoles would injure consumers, video game developers, retailers and console manufacturers; put thousands of high-value, rewarding U.S. jobs at risk; and stifle innovation in our industry and beyond," the console makers said. "While we appreciate the Administration's efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property and preserve U.S. high-tech leadership, the disproportionate harm caused by these tariffs to U.S. consumers and businesses will undermine-not advance-these goals."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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