CPA Advisory: Obama tariffs preceded Trump tariffs

March 02, 2018

While some commentators are fretting about President Trump imposing tariffs on a flood of subsidized steel and aluminum imports, it’s helpful to note that President Obama took a similar stance. Not only did he espouse strong trade rhetoric against China in his 2012 State of the Union address, but he also imposed tariffs on steel, tires, and solar panels.


1. Obama put tariffs on solar panels.

2. Obama slapped tariffs on tires.

3. Obama put tariffs on imported steel.

President Obama stated on Jan. 24, 2012: “I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules. We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration – and it’s made a difference. Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.”

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  • Mark Sanguinetti
    One of the additional taxes that is being ignored in the U.S. is when U.S. goods are exported to other nations they are also charged with Value Added Tax (V.A.T.). This is a tax on the amount by which the value of a product has been increased at each stage of its production or distribution. When foreign nations like China charge V.A.T. taxes to their companies, if the goods are later exported, for example to the U.S., the company can get a full V.A.T. tax refund from their government. Also our nation has very small import taxes, for example 2% or less, charged to companies which import goods from foreign countries to the United States. This is one of the main reasons we have less revenue flowing into the U.S. federal government with instead yearly increased federal debt. Every congressional representative regardless of their political party could be either working to correct this or supporting other congressional representatives who are working to follow the U.S. constitution. Or at least working to form a level playing field of taxation in the United States.

    Information from the US Constitution on Foreign Trade