New Data Shows Trump Administration Tariffs Cost U.S. Businesses $2.7 Billion in a Single Month, Exports of American Products Targeted for Retaliation Plummet 37 Percent

As President claims that billions are flowing into Treasury from tariffs, new data shows it is coming from American companies

Monthly steel imports rise despite $246 million in added tariffs

WASHINGTON– Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a nationwide campaign against recent tariffs on American businesses, farmers and consumers, today released new data that shows American businesses paid an additional $2.7 billion in tariffs in November 2018 — the most recent month data is available from the U.S. Census Bureau due to the government shutdown. This figure reflects the additional tariffs levied because of the administration’s actions and represents a $2.7 billion tax increase and a massive year-over-year increase from $375 million in tariffs on the same products in November 2017. The historic tax increases come despite overall imports being slightly lower. The data, compiled by Trade Partnership, also shows that U.S. export growth hit its lowest level of 2018 in November, thanks in part to a 37 percent decline in exports of products facing retaliatory tariffs.

“This data shows that Americans, not our foreign competitors, are the big losers in the trade war,” Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Spokesman and former Congressman Charles Boustany said“U.S. businesses are being hit by a double whammy of historic tax increases in the form of tariffs and declining exports as farmers and manufacturers lose opportunities in the overseas markets they rely on for their livelihoods. As U.S.-China trade talks resume, we hope the administration will heed the concerns of the thousands of American companies facing unprecedented tariff costs while making further progress toward an improved trading relationship and an end to the trade war. The proposed March 1 tariff increase should be completely off the table as American businesses are already facing billions more in tariffs every month.”

The November 2018 data shows that retaliatory tariffs, in particular, have had an immediate and severe effect on US exports. In November 2018, US exports of products subject to retaliatory tariffs declined by $4.1 billion, or 37 percent, from the previous year. 


Other key takeaways from the November data:

  • Despite $426 million in monthly steel import tariffs and the Trump administration targeting even allies like Canada and Mexico with tariffs, steel imports actually INCREASED in November 2018. 
  • China Section 301 tariffs cost American companies approximately $2.1 billion in November. Products subject to the Section 301 remedies faced $2.5 billion in tariffs in October, compared to just $363 million in November 2017. Tariffs on most of these products could rise from 10 percent to 25 percent unless the U.S. and China reach a deal in the coming weeks (see chart below on rise in 301 tariffs).


The Tariff Tracker: The data released today is part of a monthly Tariff Tracker that Tariffs Hurt the Heartland has launched in conjunction with The Trade Partnership, who compiles monthly data released by the U.S. government. The monthly import data is calculated using data from the Census Bureau. The monthly export data is compiled using data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As part of the Tariff Tracker project, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is releasing data on how individual states have been impacted by increased import tariffs and declining exports. That data will be released in individual letters to Governors in all 50 states in the coming weeks. 


National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay: “This data demonstrates the urgency of reaching an agreement that opens the Chinese market and puts an end to the trade war. Let’s be clear: These tariffs are taxes paid directly out of the pocketbooks of American families and businesses, and the cost continues to build month-by-month. U.S. retailers are doing their best to mitigate the tariffs and avoid price increases, but a tariff spike on March 1 could mark a turning point.”

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater: “This new data proves the Trump administration’s tariffs are costing U.S. consumers and businesses billions of dollars. This not only risks millions of American jobs, including the 1.3 million jobs supported by the equipment manufacturing industry, but it also invites retaliatory tariffs that unnecessarily hurt U.S. farmers and ranchers. We share the Trump administration’s concerns about China’s discriminatory trade practices, but an escalating trade war is not the answer and has to stop.”

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Vice President for International Trade Hun Quach: “The March 1st deadline for a tariff increase to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods has been hanging over the American economy like a black cloud. Tariffs are taxes, period. Retailers are doing our best to mitigate the pain, but raising tariffs on thousands of consumers products causes massive disruption to retailers in an already uncertain environment. We continue to urge the administration to find resolution with China that includes the removal of the self-imposed tariffs, and hold out hope that next week’s talks will yield results.”

National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly:  “Addressing important issues with China and holding China’s leadership accountable for illegal trade practices is important.  But a strategy that ultimately costs U.S. business – including U.S. seafood exporters – hundreds of millions of dollars, while making it more expensive for Americans to feed their families is not the right approach.”

American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO Rick Helfenbein: “The data shows that trade wars do not work. As the highest tariffed industry in the U.S., our members are painfully aware that tariffs do not support manufacturing jobs and do not result in payments from foreign countries. The only outcome is that Americans are forced to spend even more for their apparel, footwear and travel goods. It’s time to end this tariff experiment and start enacting trade policies that benefit American companies, American workers and American families.”

Information Technology Industry Council Vice President of Government Affairs Shannon Taylor: “Tariffs are taxes paid by U.S. businesses and consumers – not China or overseas competitors. From charging families higher prices on everyday goods to forcing companies to reroute supply chains and divert resources from developing cutting-edge technologies like AI and 5G, tariffs have a harmful and lasting impact across the U.S. economy. While the administration must take action to address China’s unfair trade practices and policies, tariffs are not the solution. We encourage the Trump administration to delay the March 1 tariffs increase and double-down on current negotiations with China to roll back the existing tariffs and address these long-standing trade issues.”


Matt McAlvanah (  
Melanie Lehnhardt (