The Trump administration appears to be lifting tariffs on certain Chinese-manufactured PC parts, including graphics cards, motherboards, and desktop cases.
On Friday, the US Trade Representative granted one-year exemptions on dozens of Chinese imports on which President Trump had previously imposed a 25 percent tariff.
Although the exemption list isn’t very reader-friendly, it includes the tariff code 8473.30.1180, which covers graphics cards and motherboards. Also on the exemption list is 8473.30.5100, a tariff code that’s been used to classify PC desktop cases.
Other components getting a reprieve include “mouse input devices” valued over $70, “trackpad input units” valued at over $100, and power supply units that output more than 500 watts.
According to the US Trade Representative, the exemptions were made after requests from US stakeholders; if the affected import was available only from China, or the tariff was causing “severe economic harm” to industries or US interests, a temporary reprieve could be granted.
The exemptions also occur as the US is seeking to restart trade negotiations with China. Last month, Trump delayed imposing a 10 percent tariff on Chinese-assembled smartphone, laptops, and video game systems until Dec. 15 amid concerns the trade action would raise prices on goods during the holiday shopping season.
The electronics industry’s lobbying group, the Consumer Technology Association, told PCMag it’s still examining the newly announced tariff exemptions. But an association spokesperson noted: “Please keep in mind the exception doesn’t apply to previous tariffs paid and only lasts for one year before you have to reapply.”
A year ago, the Trump administration began imposing a 10 percent duty on many PC components made in China. Then in May, the tariff rate rose to 25 percent. In response, the electronics supply chain has been shifting some manufacturing away from China to areas such as Taiwan and Vietnam to avoid the tariffs. Nevertheless, other companies, particularly smaller vendors, have had to raise prices to compensate for the added costs. Vendors including Intel, Acer, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have previously sent letters to the US Trade Representative, calling for exemptions to be made.
Despite today’s announcement, not all PC-related products have been granted a reprieve. The Trump administration appears to be keeping intact tariffs on fully assembled desktops, some storage drives, and CPU coolers made in China.