US consumers concerned about cost increases from tariffs.

Global Business

The Trump administration’s proposed list of Chinese imports facing tariffs includes more than 1,300 products. Among them: electronics, medical equipment and batteries. Experts say the increase will likely be passed on to U.S. consumers raising questions about how they will react to higher prices. CGTN America’s Karina Huber reports.

Fifty-billion dollars worth of goods made in China, including flat-screen TVs, medical devices and airplane components, are being targeted by the Trump administration for proposed import tariffs of 25 percent.

Excluded from the list are clothing, toys and electronic devices like cell phones and laptops. U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer says the list was compiled to create the “lowest consumer impact.”

The products are largely industrial, but economists say U.S. consumers could still see an increase in prices.

“You’re not looking at a really smack in the gut to the consumer but you are looking for some episodic goods where the prices could potentially go up significantly,” said Robert Brusca, Chief Economist, Fact & Opinion.

Some U.S. consumers are worried. “Yeah, I’m really concerned. I’m concerned because I’m a single working mom. I’m a school teacher and my dollar doesn’t go very far as it is, so any increase would definitely cause me to shop less,” said one.

Others say if prices go up, they will become more selective. “I would probably think about the purchase a bit more. But, ultimately, if it was something I really wanted, I would probably still purchase it” said a U.S. consumer. “It just really depends on what I’m buying. I guess, if it’s necessities then yes. But if it’s irrelevant then not really,” said another.

“Depending on the item – like buying a large screen TV, if it’s going up 25 percent – I’m only going to buy that once in so many years – whereas buying a calculator made in China or Taiwan or whatever, I may hold off on buying it or finding a cheaper model,” said a U.S. consumer.

Robert Brusca and other economists say, even if U.S. consumers pull back on buying goods imported from China, the impact on the U.S. economy will likely be minimal.

Moody’s Analytics estimates the proposed tariffs, in addition to those already imposed on Chinese steel and aluminum, could shave U.S. economic growth by about two-tenths of a percent this year and a tenth of a percent next year.

“When consumers spend goods on imports, on goods that are made in China, there’s an increase in GDP because they spend money on these goods. And there’s a decrease in GDP because they’ve been imported. And so the impact of buying goods from China on GDP is very small,” said Brusca.

What the impact will be on U.S. consumers is another question.

U.S. consumers can rest easy for now. The tariffs won’t go into effect until after a review period. The Trump administration is soliciting feedback from American companies who have until May 22nd to file final objections.