Earlier in April, the Trump administration presented a list of proposed tariffs that it would like to see levied against certain Chinese imports. The list primarily includes specific electronics, aerospace, and machinery products that it would prefer to see manufactured in the United States, rather than abroad. It's a complicated and divisive proposition, and one with many potential setbacks, but one person in the Trump family won't have to worry about it: Trump's eldest daughter. Trump's China tariffs won't affect Ivanka's clothing brand.
To be clear, it's not just Ivanka's clothing company that will avoid tariffs on imports — all clothing will be free from the additional duty. However, some progressive critics have suggested that excluding clothing from the tariffs seems a little odd. Ivanka's brand was shielded from this round of tariff proposals, though if the list was expanded, it's possible that the brand would not be spared.
When news broke that the Trump administration would not be levying tariffs against industries that directly affect his family's businesses, Twitter burst into cries of nepotism. Accusations that Trump's family members and friends have or could benefit from his presidency have cropped up regularly since Trump assumed office. For Ivanka in particular, this has been exacerbated by her role as a presidential advisor, a position which has afforded her an office in the West Wing.
According to Reuters, the United States imports nearly $40 billion worth of apparel and footwear from China. Levying duties on such a massive industry is very likely to affect consumers, but it could inversely send a very strong message to the Chinese government. And that's precisely what the tariffs are intended to do.
The Trump administration, according to The Washington Post, says it selected the industries and goods that it did with the intention of minimizing the tariffs' effects on American consumers. Toys were also left off the list. In a statement released by the Office of U.S. Trade Representative, accompanying the list of proposed tariffs, the agency said:
...the United States will impose tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China’s policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises. These policies bolster China’s stated intention of seizing economic leadership in advanced technology as set forth in its industrial plans, such as 'Made in China 2025.'
One of Trump's greatest complaints about manufacturing in China has to do with the country's weak intellectual property rights protections. Because of this, business who produce goods run the risk of having their technology and product manufacturing information lifted and used by a competitor. Reports of this happening have gone on for decades.
However, business owners have continued to outsource certain parts of their manufacturing to China because it is extremely inexpensive to produce goods there, and also because the Chinese market is much too massive to ignore. This has put American business owners in a precarious position, navigating very tenuous cost-benefit analyses.
The other part of the argument also has to do with Trump's promise to bring outsourced jobs back to the United States. He and his supporters believe that if those American industries currently manufacturing overseas would return, lucrative and unionized blue collar jobs would increase in the United States.
However, many economics and foreign policy experts believe that engaging in a trade war with China is a dangerous and needless risk for the American markets. They argue that consumers and manufacturers will end up paying the cost of what is ultimately a political dispute.
The Trump administration's tariff proposals will not go into effect immediately. There will be a 30-day comment period, according to the Post, after which there is a public hearing scheduled for May 15. (It will take place in the hearing room at the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is located in Washington, D.C.)