If you thought the last laptop or smartphone you bought was expensive, you may be in for sticker shock the next time you head out the door shopping for a replacement. President Trumps latest waves of tariffs aimed at China could drive up the cost of all goods that are produced and there and then imported into the United States.
Even companies that claim to have American made products often get their parts from overseas, including China. That means that your next MacBook or iPhone or even your washing machine could end up costing you more when you are looking to replace it. The end result could be lower productivity and slower growth for the U.S. economy, and it will most likely hit the wallets of all consumers across the nation, according to the USA Today.
“Consumers will pay more, but the more important hit is there’s less consumption by business and organizations who use these technologies to become more productive,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. “Therefore, productivity grows more slowly, the economy grows less and wages grow less. Overall (gross domestic product) grows less.”
Not everyone is against these new tariffs, however. Some say that it will help protect intellectual property by preventing companies from having to divulge this information in order to do business in China.
Leo Gerard, president of the steelworkers’ union, said, “China’s aggressive plan to buy, force transfer of, or steal our intellectual property to advance its interests is a clear threat to our national and economic security.”
China has wasted no time retaliating, the country has already announced tariffs on pork imports, recycled aluminum, American-made steel pipes, fruit, and wine. But despite these added tariffs, many believe the tariffs are still necessary.
“Unfair trade practices must be addressed, but the solution is not to put a new tax on U.S. businesses and force consumers to pay dramatically more to access the technology products they need,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association said in a statement. “Increased tariffs and trade wars risk the nearly 2.5 million American jobs associated with trade involving technology products. Such a move threatens U.S. economic growth and wipes out the benefits of our recent tax reform.”
But there is still a good chance the American consumer will feel an impact when they shop. Amazon, for example, will be paying 1 percent or 2 percent more on products made in China, but they may be able to absorb those costs without passing the increase off to consumers, but other businesses won’t be so lucky. There is a good chance that companies such as Amazon and Apple could pass these increased costs directly to consumers. In the long run, that will reduce consumer spending and hurt growth and reduce the cost of entry even for the most budget laptops on the market.
While the long term fallout of these new trading practices has yet to be seen, I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin seeing an increased cost in our favorite electronic gadgets in the years to come. So be prepared to pay a little more the next time you are shopping for a new laptop.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.