What is import tariff?

Import Tariff is the a fee for bringing goods into the US. The interesting thing about import tariff is that in general the cheaper the product, the higher the import tariff, and the more expensive the product, the lower the import tariff. This means that when you buy a $15 dollars pair of shoes, you could be paying $5 of that in import tariffs. However, if you were buying a $300 pair of shoes, there is less likely a chance any of it is import tariff.

Why is import tariffs bad you ask? Well, generally the only people buying $15 dollars shoes are poor, low income people. While the rich are more likely the ones banking on $300 dollars shoes. So import tariff is an extra tax on the poor. If it wasn’t for import tariff, the poor would pay $5 dollars less.

Before you get mad, you have to understand that the reason why there are import tariffs on cheap products is because in the beginning, when America still manufactured consumer goods, the government imposed import tariffs to protect American products from competition by foreign manufacturers. This kept American products cheap, while driving up the price of imported goods. Expensive products did not have this problem because expensive products are usually specialized and do not usually have competitors.

The funny thing is, nowadays, America manufacturers practically nothing! We get everything from imports. Funny thing is, those old import tariffs are still active, driving up the cost of “cheap” items by a couple dollars. If we could repeal those import tariffs, we could save ourselves a few bucks.

Removing import tariffs is hard however because of two reasons 1) no one knows about it – I bet you didn’t know about it before this article and 2) no one cares – Its not an appealing enough topic for people to rally behind. I guess a couple dollars does not mean much to people nowadays..

Another wonderful thing I learned from NPR.

  • elparko

    Not sure if tariffs as an indirect tax on the poor works as an argument, because they can always buy cheap domestic shoes–not all shoes are imported.

    The benefits/disadvantages of tariffs probably vary from situation and industry. It would be interesting to see what would happen to the marketshare/jobs of the big three domestic auto companies if there were no tariffs on Japanese cars.

    Yes. NPR is nice.

  • boba

    I will still buy a japanese car regardless of the tariff. They are just that good! Unless it is a Corvette. btw, you are not my lord and savior. :lol:

  • sandbag

    Japan has no tariffs on passengers cars, trucks and parts, and although the United States, its major export market, also imposes no duties on cars, it has a tariff of 25 percent on trucks.