Why the Proposed Border Tax Adjustment Is Unlikely to Promote U.S. Exports
There has been much debate about the proposed border tax adjustment, in which U.S. firms would pay a 20 percent tax on all imported inputs and be exempt from paying taxes on export revenue. The view among many economists, including proponents of the plan, is that the U.S. dollar would appreciate by the full amount of the tax and thus completely offset any relative price effects. In this post, we consider the implications of an alternative scenario where the U.S. dollar only appreciates part of the way. This could happen, for example, as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the policy ...
The End of China's Export Juggernaut
China has been an exporting juggernaut for decades. In the United States, this has meant a dramatic increase in China?s share of imports and a ballooning bilateral trade deficit. Gaining sales in the United States at the expense of other countries, Chinese goods rose from only 2 percent of U.S. non-oil imports in 1990 to 8 percent in 2000 and 17 percent in 2010. But these steady gains in U.S. import share have stopped in recent years, with China even losing ground to other countries in some categories of goods. One explanation for this shift is that Chinese firms now have to directly compete ...
U.S. Exporters Could Face High Tariffs without NAFTA
An underappreciated benefit of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the protection it offers U.S. exporters from extreme tariff uncertainty in Mexico. U.S. exporters have not only gained greater tariff preferences under NAFTA than Mexican exporters gained in the United States, they have also been exempt from potential tariff hikes facing other exporters. Mexico?s bound tariff rates?the maximum tariff rate a World Trade Organization (WTO) member can impose?are very high and far exceed U.S. bound rates. Without NAFTA, there is a risk that tariffs on U.S. exports to Mexico could ...
Why Renegotiating NAFTA Could Disrupt Supply Chains
Supply chains have become increasingly interlinked across the U.S.-Mexico border. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), allowing tariff-free commerce between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, has facilitated this integration. Some critics of NAFTA are concerned about the bilateral trade deficit and have proposed stricter rules of origin (ROO), which would make it more cumbersome for firms to access the zero tariff rates they are entitled to with NAFTA. We argue that measures that make it costlier for U.S. firms to import will also hurt U.S. exports because much of U.S.-Mexican ...
Is Chinese Growth Overstated?
For analysts of the Chinese economy, questions about the accuracy of the country?s official GDP data are a frequent source of angst, leading many to seek guidance from alternative indicators. These nonofficial gauges often suggest Beijing?s growth figures are exaggerated, but that conclusion is not supported by our analysis, which draws upon satellite measurements of the intensity of China?s nighttime light emissions?a good proxy for GDP growth that is presumably not subject to whatever measurement errors may affect the country?s official economic statistics.
Did Import Competition Boost Household Debt Demand?
In the years preceding the Great Recession, the United States experienced a dramatic rise in household debt and an unprecedented increase in import competition. In a recent staff report, we outline a link between these two seemingly unrelated phenomena. We argue that the displacement of workers exposed to import competition fueled their demand for mortgage credit, which left many households more vulnerable to the eventual downturn in the housing market.
The Evolution of Mexico’s Merchandise Trade Balance
Mexico runs a trade surplus with the United States owing to oil exports and cross-border supply chains, with imported U.S. components assembled in Mexico and then exported back to the United States. At the same time, Mexico runs a large trade deficit with Asia, the result of a surge of imports from that region over the past two decades. From Mexico?s perspective, this growing deficit with Asia has worked to offset an increasing trade surplus with the United States. More recently, the country?s merchandise balance suffered a substantial deterioration with the collapse of petroleum prices in ...
Will New Steel Tariffs Protect U.S. Jobs?
President Trump announced a new tariff of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports on March 8, 2018. One objective of these tariffs is to protect jobs in the U.S. steel industry. They were introduced under a rarely used 1962 Act, which allows the government to impose trade barriers for national security reasons. Although the tariffs were initially to apply to all trading partners, Canada and Mexico are currently exempt subject to NAFTA negotiations, and implementation of the tariffs for the European Union, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil has been paused. South Korea has ...
Do Import Tariffs Help Reduce Trade Deficits?
Import tariffs are on the rise in the UnitedStates, with a long list of new tariffs imposed in the last few months?25percent on steel imports, 10percent on aluminum, and 25percent on $50billion of goods from China?and possibly more to come. One of the objectives of these new tariffs is to reduce the U.S.trade deficit, which stood at $568.4 billion in 2017 (2.9percent of GDP). The fact that the United States imports far more than it exports is viewed by some as unfair, so the idea is to try to reduce the amount that the nation imports from the rest of the world. While more costly imports are ...
The Impact of Import Tariffs on U.S. Domestic Prices
The United States imposed new import tariffs on about $283 billion of U.S. imports in 2018, with rates ranging between 10 percent and 50 percent. In this post, we estimate the effect of these tariffs on the prices paid by U.S. producers and consumers. We find that the higher import tariffs had immediate impacts on U.S. domestic prices. Our results suggest that the aggregate consumer price index (CPI) is 0.3 percent higher than it would have been without the tariffs.