President Donald Trump has delayed a tariff increase on $250 billion worth of good imports from China by two weeks. The delay, announced Wednesday, would've raised tariffs on those goods from 25% to 30% on October 1; now the bump will go into effect on October 15.
Trump said in a tweet that he delayed the increase "at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People's Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary." He also said the delay was a "gesture of good will [sic]." The two countries have been engaged in a slowly escalating trade war for much of 2019, with China becoming more retaliatory over the last month.
This delay followed the expansion of 15% tariffs on $110 billion worth of goods on September 1. Most tech products were unaffected by that expansion, but certain devices were included in the list of tariffed goods, including wireless headphones and the Apple Watch. In addition to the increase that was planned for October 1, the U.S. is set to raise tariffs on many consumer electronic products on December 15.
It's not clear if yesterday's announcement will lead to further delays of the expanded and increased tariffs. The holiday shopping season could still be affected by the increase scheduled for December 15.
We've said before that all this uncertainty makes it hard for U.S. tech companies to know how to move forward. Should they make their products outside China? Raise prices to reduce the impact of these increased tariffs? Accept lower margins? This delay won't offer them answers; it will merely give them a little more time to wonder what the U.S. and China will do to each other next.