Despite talks of a US-China ‘trade war’, the highest US tariffs are on imports from many other Asian countries, including Bangladesh, most of whose imports to the United States last year were subject to tariffs equivalent to 15.2 per cent of the total value of that country’s shipments. This is the highest such average rate among 232 countries and territories.
This was disclosed recently by US fact tank Pew Research Centre that analysed data from the US International Trade Commission (ITC). Import duties on China are by no means the highest ones the US charges, the research centre said in a press release. Other countries with similar profiles are Cambodia (duties equal to 14.1 per cent of the total value of imports from there), Sri Lanka (11.9 per cent), Pakistan (8.9 per cent) and Vietnam (7.2 per cent). By contrast, the duties on Chinese imports totalled $13.5 billion last year, or 2.7 per cent of their total value, the analysis found.
The United States generally taxes highly clothing and other related products. Bangladesh exported about $5.7 billion worth of goods to the United States last year, 95 per cent of which were apparel, footwear, headgear and related goods. The average US tariff rates on its other major trading partners are much lower than those on China. Mexico and Canada, the second- and third-highest sources of US imports, had average duties last year of just 0.12 per cent and 0.08 per cent of the value of their imports respectively.
The average rates for Japan and Germany are both less than 2 per cent; South Korea, with which the United States also has a free trade agreement, had duties equal to just 0.25 per cent on its $70.5 billion in total exports to the United States. In general, US tariffs are lower today relative to the total value of imports than they were two decades ago, primarily because more imported goods are fully exempted from duties, the press release added.