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August 14, 2019 5:00 PM, EDT

53-Foot Domestic Containers From China Not on Tariff List

Donald Trump speaks with reporters President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., on Aug. 13, 2019. (Associated Press/Susan Walsh)

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The 53-foot containers that are vital to the movement of goods into the United States from overseas have been removed from a list of items that would be subject to tariffs on goods arriving from China, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Aug. 13.

The trucking industry had opposed the tariffs out of concern that it would be U.S. motor carriers — not Chinese manufacturers — that would ultimately suffer.

“Certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10%,” according to an advisory from the trade representative.

“Trucking and trade are synonymous and we are happy with this most recent announcement by the United States Trade Representative that these 53-foot domestic containers won’t be subject to tariffs,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “We explained that applying tariffs to these containers would have a tremendous impact on the entire freight logistics industry, and ultimately on U.S. consumers, so we are very pleased with the decision.”

ATA's Bob Costello

Costello

Costello added, “Because there are no U.S.-based makers of these containers, we estimate the logistics industry would’ve paid an additional $63 million in the first year, and nearly $750 million more over the next decade for the equipment if these tariffs had not been rescinded.”

While the containers are no longer included, the U.S. intends to proceed with a 10% tariff on approximately $300 billion in Chinese imports beginning Sept. 1. However, the Trump administration has indicated that some products — such as cellphones, computers and toys — would not be subject to additional tariffs through Dec. 15, a move the president said could spare shoppers some added holiday expense.

“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,” President Donald Trump told reporters in New Jersey on Aug. 13. “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.”

The Trump administration has maintained that the import taxes are being levied in reaction to China’s trade policies.

“The future actions on tariffs and related matters depends on the progress of the China trade deal,” White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said from the White House on Aug. 2.