No crystal ball here. But if you’re craving an e-book reader or another high-tech gizmo made in Shenzhen or elsewhere in China, you might want to hit the “Buy” button very soon.
Donald Trump isn’t even in office yet. But already some import prices are increasing in anticipation of the tariffs he may impose. And I’d be surprised if high-tech goods weren’t among those affected now or later. From Elazar Advisors, LLC, via Seeking Alpha:
Import prices jumped to a 6% annual rate for the month.
The new Trump administration’s tough stance on trade will only make this number stronger.
Caveat: A lot of Trump’s trade-related rhetoric, such as talk of 45 percent tariffs, could be just a negotiating tactic with the Chinese to reduce dumping. Nothing certain. But if you’ve been sitting on the fence, this could be a good time to act, especially with Black Friday coming up later in November. Here’s info on a B.F. ad from H.R. Gregg. Plus, Best Buy info and Walmart info. Got any B.F. links of your own to share? (No vendors, please.)
Related: More from Bloomberg on the trade wars. Also see What now for ebooks and libraries—with Donald Trump elected as president?, a TeleRead commentary.
Image credit: Here.
Labor isn’t a major factor in device costs, given the wide use of automation. It is the cost of parts. If I recall correctly, an iPhone would only cost $8 more to make here than in China. Apple could easily soak that cost and it’d mean good-paying jobs outside Silicon Valley. The indifference the coastal elite has to any jobs but there own is one reason why Trump is president.
Keep in mind too that pressures to build in the U.S. worked quite well in the 1970s. Detroit managed to survive, but was forced to improved to compete with domestically made cars from Asian companies. And in this case, many of the companies involved, such as Apple, aren’t even Asian.
And I wouldn’t buy now out of fear of price rises. It’s rarely a good idea to buy electronics sooner than necessary. Wait until you can’t wait any longer and you can get the same or better for less. And even if one particular item you want goes up, you can always buy used for less. Your local Craigslist is good for that.
Besides, ebook readers are so low-tech, you don’t need to upgrade at all. My Kindle 3 works fine and my iPhone 5 is tech overkill for ebook reading, as is my iPad 3. I tend to not drop technology until it becomes painful to use, and I’m still delighted by my 35-year-old car.
I want to see more jobs come home, particularly to the so-called Rust Belt. No one should have to leave friends and family to get a good job. I also want young black men in my community to be able to find good paying jobs in construction so they can marry and have kids, not poor-paying ones pushing a wheelchair in hospitals.
No one should be sneered at as a “deplorable” (Hillary) or called “bitter” (Obama) because they want that. We live in nasty age where those who most benefit from change—often thanks to crony capitalism and pay-to-play politics—sneer at those who merely want to work hard and get ahead.
@Michael: Here is the take on the iPhone from the MIT Technology Review:
Also check out:
I’d love to see more electronics made in the US if possible, but because of automation, it does appear that only so many jobs could be created.
Meanwhile, although we can dream about trade policy as much as we want, people need to know about the here and now. Hence my post. They obviously shouldn’t buy unless they genuinely need the tech. But if they’re sitting on the fence, forthcoming tariffs are an important factor to consider. And I’m not just talking about ebook readers. How about truly big-ticket items such as televisions?
Back to Apple. I’m just as POed as you are by the price gouges. For time reasons, I could not pursue the suggestion you gave me about the overpriced laptops, but you’re very welcome to discuss that at length here.
First, adding a tariff is easier said than done. Trump has few friends among Congresscritters, and the tech industry has a lot of lobbyists.
Second, a tariff on electronics could backfire in a huge way. IIRC, China has most of the world’s supply of rare-earth minerals needed for manufacture of electronics. If they decide to embargo the US, those cost estimates go WAY up.