Trump postpones rates for laptops and smartphones until December

The United States will postpone proposed rates on many consumer electronics imported from China Trump administration said today, give a respite to gadget makers who want to await a trade war between the two countries.


The United States Trade Representative's office said in a statement that it was moving ahead with plans to impose a 10 percent rate on $ 300 billion worth of Chinese goods. President Trump said in August that, after negotiations with China were stopped, the rates would be set on September 1, a timeline that the trade representative said was still in effect. The administration has already levied a rate of 25 percent on a smaller subset of Chinese imports.

The administration said that "certain products" would be removed from the new list of rates "based on health, safety, national security and other factors." A full list of those items will be published later today.

The statement also said that the administration will stop the rates until December 15 for certain other goods. "Products in this group include, for example, cell phones, laptops, video game consoles, certain toys, computer screens, and certain footwear and clothing," the statement said.

The announcement will provide some relief to manufacturers such as Apple, who have said that the cost of the rates will be passed on to consumers and has requested an exemption for Mac Pro components. Trump has promised to refuse that request, and he said earlier that consumers could "very easily" endure a 10 percent increase in iPhone costs.