Keeping tabs on tariffs in an ever-changing trade war

China/US tariffs


By Cate Hull

Mario Bruendel, writing for, recently provided a comprehensive tally of the tariffs resulting from the trade war between the U.S. and China and the impacts on its partners, which includes Australia.

Here’s what Bruendel’s Oct. 6 report included:

  • As recently reported in Business Insider by reporter Bob Bryan, $16 billion in proposed tariffs on Chinese goods were placed into effect by the United States. Another $200 billion was later imposed against Chinese goods.
  • To mitigate the effect of the ongoing trade disputes with foreign buyers, the Wall Street Journal’s Jesse Newman and Heather Hadden reported that the White House has said it will pay $4.7 billion to U.S. farmers to offset agricultural losses.
  • The Nikkei Asia Review reports the ongoing trade war is having a heavier toll on global supply chains as countries and companies seek to avoid paying increased tariffs aimed at countries such as China. An example is Japan, which is starting to find other sources of supply to avoid Beijing-focused tariffs. An industry to pay attention to will be the auto industry, where it was reported that “the US also is considering a blanket duty on cars and auto parts, forcing companies to rethink their supply chains.”
  • Ocean freight rates increased on the spot market. In the past several months, rates from China to the US have increased significantly–rising to their highest level since February 2017.

The U.S.’s CNBC reported that the U.S. saw its trade deficit continue to widen as soybean exports plunged by $1 billion in August.

The imbalance increased $3.2 billion in August to $53.2 billion, a 6.4 percent increase and part of an ongoing trend in 2018, according to the figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census.

For the calendar year, the trade deficit is up $31 billion or 8.6 percent from a year ago.

The increase continues the White House’s unsuccessful efforts to narrow the balance between imports and exports, a major priority for President Donald Trump.

As a U.S. trading partner, Australia has a major stake in international trade agreements and any tariffs that are imposed. The trickle-down effects of trade wars will impact Australia’s trading landscape.

Cate Hull is the CEO of FreightExchange, a Sydney-based logistics and freight management company.