Graphics cards, and other PC components for that matter, just dodged a big price hike this month in the US, but planned tariffs on Chinese imports have only been put off until later this year, rather than scrapped entirely.
As PC Mag reports, these are tariffs originally brought in some time ago by the Trump administration, and they added a 25% duty on imported graphics cards, motherboards, SSDs and power supplies from China.
The Biden government, however, has been putting off these tariffs being reinstated. They were supposed to come back into play in December 2022, before being delayed twice again, pushing them back to September and then December 2023.
So, in theory the tariffs should be active again now, except the Biden administration has just pushed back their reimplementation once more – they’ve now been delayed to May 31.
The reason for this fresh move is that the Office of the US Trade Representative needs more time to get feedback from the components industry before bringing in the tariffs, we’re told.
Analysis: Pricing misery
The end result for consumers in the US is a good thing, of course – graphics cards and the other mentioned components are not going to get much pricier all of a sudden.
That said, in five months, they will do – at least in theory, but with three pushbacks now since December 2022, it seems a distinct possibility that this could happen again.
Exactly what the Office of the US Trade Representative needs to get in the way of feedback isn’t clear, because as PC Mag points out, the USTR has had a review of the Trump-imposed tariffs underway for approaching two years now, so must have surely drawn some conclusions there. If so, the USTR certainly hasn’t shared them.
What will happen next is anyone’s guess, but one of the reasons for pushing the tariffs aside originally in 2022 was the Biden government’s fears that the measure was too much to bear for businesses and consumers alike given inflationary pressures. That broader picture of economic woes has hardly settled down yet, of course.
Furthermore, with the best graphics cards already being seriously pricey – even if they have come down in cost somewhat over the course of the past year, GPUs are hardly affordable in the main – and with SSDs expected to get big price hikes in the near future, any further increases are going to be heaping misery on top of misery for these PC components in particular.
All of which seems to point to yet another potential delay of the imposition of these measures, or maybe what everyone is hoping for – an official abandonment of the tariff scheme.
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