Quantcast
Connect with us

Trump’s tariffs don’t apply to American flag imports from China – but they should

Published

on

On Veterans Day, many Americans drape the Stars and Stripes around their neighborhoods, businesses promote U.S. flags alongside their holiday discounts, and officials display them in government buildings.

The holiday started off as a day to honor those who fought in the “war to end all wars” and marked the armistice that ended hostilities on Nov. 11 exactly a century ago. And today Americans wave flags to commemorate all veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces.

ADVERTISEMENT

Recently, while walking by a VFW Post dutifully displaying a U.S. flag, I read a newspaper headline about the president’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods. The juxtaposition of seeing the flag and the headline made me wonder, how many of those star-spangled banners actually come from China? And if so, are they being hit with the tariffs too?

You may be surprised at the answers – I certainly was.

Made in China

Every shipment of imports brought into the U.S includes a detailed invoice that shows the price, quantity and category of goods being imported, as well as any tariff that’s been applied. The national flag of the United States even gets its own code: 6307909825.

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule shows imported flags must pay a 7 percent tariff unless the country of origin has signed a free trade agreement with the U.S.

The invoices show that in 2017 the U.S. imported 10 million American flags. Of those, all but 50,000 came from China.

ADVERTISEMENT

These imports represent just a tiny fraction of the estimated 150 million U.S. flags Americans buy each year. Nevertheless, 10 million is still a large number for a national symbol.

The typical flag made in China is not the giant banner waving over car dealerships, town halls and fast-food restaurants. Instead, they’re the small ones you and your friends might wave at a Veterans Day parade. The average imported Chinese flag costs the importer only 56 cents, without including any tariffs, and weighs about two and a half ounces.

ADVERTISEMENT

An ‘all-American’ flag

That so many Americans flags come from China seems incongruous to some, suggesting that this fact somehow undermines its patriotic symbolism.

As a result, a long list of bipartisan members of the House introduced the “All-American Flag Act” in June 2017. The bill would require all flags purchased by the federal government to be manufactured entirely in the United States using only raw materials that were grown, produced and manufactured domestically.

ADVERTISEMENT

Currently, federal agencies are bound by the “Buy American Act.” This rule requires that all flags purchased by the government be made with materials that are at least 50 percent American.

While the legislation did not make it out of committee, it is not from lack of trying. Similar bills have been introduced in every Congress since 2003.

Since the legislation only affects federal purchases – estimated at over 100,000 a year – there would likely be little impact on the number of flags imported.

ADVERTISEMENT

But given President Donald Trump’s efforts to get more citizens to buy American products, I thought it would be only natural that he would include the national flag on the list of Chinese imports being hit with tariffs.

The tariffs are 10 percent as of Sept. 24 and will rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1. The full list of items subject to tariff contains thousands of product categories, from anchovies to zinc products.

What the list doesn’t include is American flags.

A way to make the tariffs less painful

I am an economist and generally favor free trade because of the benefits I and many other parts of society receive.

ADVERTISEMENT

The tariffs have divided Americans and businesses about whether they’re a good thing. While some support them, others are suffering because of the rising costs of raw materials or the higher prices at the cash register.

Trump clearly thinks the tariffs are the right way to make trade with China less unfair and appears skeptical about free trade more generally. He also wants Americans to buy more goods made at home.

I have a simple suggestion. Instead of putting punitive tariffs on a very large list of products, let’s instead put the tariffs on a much smaller list of important items, such as steel, which China is accused of dumping. Let’s also put tariffs on items tied to national defense, plus a few symbolic goods, like flags.

This would ensure most of the benefits of free trade are maintained, while the president is able to conduct a policy that doesn’t hurt as many U.S. businesses yet telegraphs to China and other countries that they’ll have to change their behavior.

ADVERTISEMENT

As a result, the act of waving a flag on Veterans Day to honor the men and women who keep the U.S. free will be doubly patriotic.The Conversation

Jay L. Zagorsky, Adjunct associate professor, Boston University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

‘The cost of acquitting Donald Trump just went up’ for the Republicans: MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid

Published

on

MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid explained during the post-hearing wrap-up that things aren't looking good for Republican senators up for reelection in 2020.

In the wake of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony, things are getting more difficult for Republicans faced with a vote on impeachment.

"Even if [the numbers] don't move, the problem is going to be a lot of these people have to run for re-election, letting the president off the hook when it's pretty clear what happened," Reid said. "This is pretty simple, and if I'm Cory Gardener (R-CO), I'm not feeling great."

Brian Williams noted that Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) is one of the many Republicans "who's leaving town on a fast horse." If anyone could be pealed off by Democrats, Williams thinks it is Hurd.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Indicted Giuliani associate helped Nunes arrange meetings during his overseas trips to discredit the Russia investigation

Published

on

On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that Lev Parnas, the Rudy Giuliani associate currently under federal indictment for campaign finance violations, helped Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) arrange meetings in Europe as part of his efforts to discredit the investigation of Russian contacts within President Donald Trump's campaign.

According to congressional records, Nunes, in his capacity as then-House Intelligence Chairman, visited Europe from November 30 to December 3, of last year, during which he was accompanied by three staffers — Derek Harvey, Scott Glabe, and George Pappas — at a taxpayer expense of over $63,000.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Rick Wilson mocks GOP as impeachment witnesses ‘obliterate’ their talking points: ‘Dumber than a sack of hair’

Published

on

On Wednesday, as the House wrapped up another day of bombshell impeachment testimony from multiple foreign service officers, former GOP strategist and Never Trump conservative Rick Wilson mocked President Donald Trump and his Republican allies, pointing out that all of their major talking points to defend the president's conduct in Ukraine have been "obliterated":

1/ Hey committee Republicans! Have you noticed every single line of defense that you've mounted this week for the president has been utterly fucking obliterated?

Is this clear to you yet?

Continue Reading
 
 

Happy Holidays!

As a special thank you from all of us at Raw, we're offering Raw Story ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. Now 'til Dec. 31st.
Offer Expires In:
close-link