The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has included video game consoles in a list of Chinese imports that won’t face tariffs until December 15, while other imports not granted a delay or exemption will see a 10 percent tariff starting September 1.
According to The Washington Post, that delay gives some consumer products like cellphones, laptop computers, consoles, and some footwear usually imported from China additional manufacturing room ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Video games consoles appeared on a list of products that would see a cost hike as part of the United States’ ongoing trade war with China, prompting major console makers to ask the US government for an exemption.
In a letter later published publicly, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo collectively warned of the economic impact the proposed tariffs would have on the United States video game industry, noting also that any change in console production chains would be a significantly costly disruption.
In a separate conversation, Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki warned that the company might have to raise the prices of its consoles in the US to compensate for the impact of the proposed tariffs since the systems are typically manufactured under tight margins as is.
Other companies like Apple petitioned the US government for an exemption, though that particular company was given a flat out no from President Trump over Twiiter (despite now benefiting from deferred tariffs for laptops and cellphones alongside video game consoles). The USTR says that tariffs on some other products mentioned in that original list would be waived entirely “based on health, safety, national security and other factors,” though The Washington Post notes that a final list of products facing the September 1 tariffs has yet to be published.