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New Tariffs on Christmas Lights Arrive Just in Time for the Holiday Season

November 28, 2018

As President Trump prepares to light the National Christmas Tree, businesses face higher tariffs on a holiday staple 

10 percent tariff on the majority of Christmas lights sold in stores represents another tax on American businesses and consumers; Christmas light tariffs will rise to 25 percent on January 1st 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – The majority of Christmas lights sold across the United States are being hit with a new tariff by the Trump Administration, stemming from the Section 301 tariff dispute. The import tariff is being paid by American businesses who import the product.

Because there are no major American Christmas light manufacturers, nearly all Christmas tree lights are imported. According to U.S. Census data, over 80% of US imports of Christmas lights from the world in 2017 came between August and October as companies stock up for the holiday season, with China accounting for about 85% of those imports. Already subject to 8% Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariffs, the Section 301 dispute added another 10% tariff, to 18% overall. These took effect on September 24 – right in the middle of peak season for increasing holiday inventory. Lights could become even more expensive next Christmas, as the Section 301 tariff will increase to 25% (or an overall rate of 33%) on January 1st 2019.

“This is another instance when these tariffs are nothing more than a tax on businesses and working families,” said Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman, Dr. Charles Boustany. “Raising costs for businesses and consumers during the holidays doesn’t do anything but punish Americans who, polls show, want nothing to do with this trade war. The President should use his upcoming meeting with President Xi to negotiate a deal that ends these tariffs, avoids another round of tariffs on additional consumer products, and avoids the upcoming New Year’s Day tariff hike. Millions of Americans are counting on him to make that deal.”

The Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign continues to track the impact of tariffs on individual products, states, and industries. Recent data released by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and compiled by The Trade Partnership from monthly U.S. government data, shows the dramatic cost increases and export declines the trade war has created for American businesses, farmers, and consumers. The September 2018 data, the most recent month available, shows that American businesses paid $4.4 billion in import tariffs, including a $1.4 billion increase in tariffs on products that have been targeted by Administration tariff actions. The $4.4 billion in tariffs paid in both August and September are unprecedented in U.S. history. Imported products subject to new tariffs by the Trump Administration accounted for nearly all of the increase. The export tariff data released today shows that retaliatory tariffs had an immediate and severe impact on US exports. In September, US exports of products subject to retaliatory tariffs declined by $2.5 billion, or 26 percent, from the previous year. For more visit:

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is the nationwide, non-partisan campaign opposing tariffs that is supported by over 140 trade association from every industry. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland has been holding town hall meetings on the tariff impact in communities across the country. The campaign is also airing ads across 11 states in the Midwest that describe the impact of tariff increases on consumers and has launched an interactive map tracking the tariff impact on American employers.



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