fb-pixel

WASHINGTON — The casualty list from the US-China trade war will include American consumers on Sunday when President Trump’s next round of tariffs on Chinese products takes effect, capping a month of contradictory policy announcements and second thoughts.

At 12:01 a.m., US customs will begin collecting a 15 percent tax on products such as clothing, footwear, pens, pencils, diapers, Bluetooth ear buds, televisions, golf clubs, and fishing line. The official list of affected items runs 114 single-spaced pages.

‘‘This is the first time US consumers will see the costs quite directly, right as we head into the busiest shopping time of the year,’’ said Edward Alden, an economics professor at Western Washington University.

Advertisement



Even as he braces for potential consumer irritation over higher prices, the president on Friday accused business executives who oppose his tariff strategy of blaming him for their own failures.

Leaving the White House for the presidential retreat at Camp David, Trump said poorly performing companies were using tariffs as an excuse. ‘‘Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management . . . and who can really blame them for doing that? Excuses!’’ he tweeted earlier in the day.

The president also told reporters that ‘‘13 percent of companies are going to be leaving China,’’ an apparent reference to a survey by the US-China Business Council, which found that 87 percent of companies operating in the Chinese market plan to stay put despite trade tensions.

Only 3 percent of the 220 companies surveyed said they would relocate to the United States while 17 percent said they had reduced or halted planned investment in China.

For more than a year, as the world’s two largest economies plunged into a worsening commercial conflict, the president tried to insulate voters from the effects of his import taxes. His first import taxes last year were aimed at what are called intermediate goods, machinery and components that companies use to make their final products.

Advertisement



Major business groups, notably including the US Chamber of Commerce, complained that the tariffs were hurting their bottom lines. But hoping for an early end to the trade war, many companies absorbed the costs in the form of thinner profits or leaned on their Chinese suppliers to share the burden.

On Sunday, back-to-school shoppers will join the ranks of those feeling the tariffs’ pinch as imported goods such as musical instruments, contact lenses, and tools are hit with the new levy.

The president announced Aug. 1 that he would target $300 billion of Chinese goods with a 10 percent tariff on Sept. 1. After an outcry from retailers worried about a chilling effect on holiday season sales, he opted to split the action into two parts, with a second round taking effect on Dec. 15.

But after the Chinese retaliated by increasing their own levies on about $75 billion worth of American products, the president suddenly doubled down.

He increased to 15 percent the planned 10 percent levy and announced a separate increase to 30 percent from 25 percent on an earlier $250 billion of Chinese goods, to take effect Oct. 1.

In implementing the new fees, Trump brushed aside pleas from 160 business groups that wrote the White House this week asking him to hold off.