Over the past few years, Americans have been hearing about – and feeling the impact of – tariffs between the U.S. and China. Then, earlier this month, President Trump announced a plan to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods, before coming to an agreement with Mexican officials to drop them after reaching a deal on curbing immigration across the southern border.
All of this talk about tariffs has left many wondering if this is the “new normal” and whether we should expect more to be imposed throughout the rest of the year.
How have tariffs impacted Americans so far?
While those on different sides of the political spectrum have argued that tariffs only help Americans or only hurt them, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. According to the New York Times, a recent study “estimated that the 10 percent tariffs imposed last year on $200 billion in Chinese products cost the average American household $414.”
But, Matthew Luzzetti, the chief United States economist at Deutsche Bank in New York has noticed the decrease in the price of crude oil, and Americans may enjoy the benefits of that. Luzzetti says, “The things that are being hit by the tariffs are going to be more expensive. But on the other hand, if oil continues to decline, a big portion of the basket of goods that people consume will become cheaper.”
As the year goes on, we may see gas prices continue to drop, following the price of crude oil. According to AAA, the current national average price per gallon is $2.74, which is down 18 cents from this time last year.
Are more tariffs to be expected?
It’s hard to know for sure whether or not more tariffs will be imposed in the second half of 2019. The U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, is hopeful that a deal will soon be reached between the U.S. and China but was clear that President Trump will move forward with more tariffs if no deal is reached.
Speaking to CNBC he said, “We will eventually make a deal, but if we don’t the president is perfectly happy with continuing the tariff movements that we’ve already announced, as well as imposing the new ones that he has temporarily suspended.” Ross also added that the president is considering tariffs on all auto imports, including ones from the European Union.
At press time, oil prices have reversed over concerns of conflict in Gulf region between the US and Iran. It is too early to know how this will affect oil prices over the coming months. Time will tell whether or not more tariffs will be imposed and how existing and future tariffs may impact Americans and the economy.
We will continue to provide updates here as they become available.