Dem 2020 Candidates on China tariffs and How it Could Affect your Electronics

Much of the electronics we use in the United States come from China, and tariffs will have a big impact on cost and availability moving forward – here are the positions of some of the 2020 Democratic presidential front-runners.


Currently, there are at least ten front-runners vying for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election. And the list keeps growing, as more democratic candidates are announcing their intention to run for the presidency every week.

While not every candidate has spoken extensively on their personal approach to foreign policy, a few front runners have. Therefore, in this article, we’ll take a look at those who have spoken out specifically about US trade with China, and particularly how it may impact electronics coming into the US.

How tariffs could affect your electronics

One study taken up by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) said that tariffs on China could raise the cost of all Chinese electronics imports to consumers by $3.2 billion higher in 2019, then the previous year. The CTA said these tariffs are expected to be between 10 to 25 percent on personal electronics. They expect the cost to trickle down to consumers somewhere between 8.5 to 22 percent.

The products expected to be affected most are broadband modems, smart speakers, smartwatches and other smart appliances, as well as, Bluetooth-enabled products such as wireless headphones and fitness trackers.

2020 Democratic hopefuls don’t agree on China tariff policies

You might think Democrats oppose President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China across the board – but you’d be wrong. Some 2020 candidates support the idea of continued levies on China, while others oppose escalation.

Sanders, Warren and Gillibrand agree with Trump on tariffs

While Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) disagree with President Trump on just about everything – except tariffs on China – this is one area of policy they do agree on.

Sanders on China

Sanders has long criticized many of Washington’s trade agreements around the world, particularly with China. He voted against extending normal trade relations status to China back in the 1990s, nonetheless, the bill went through. Then in 2005, Sanders sponsored a bill to withdraw China from having normal trade relations with the US.

Last June, Sanders said he supports “stiff penalties on countries like China, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam to prevent them from illegally dumping steel and aluminum into the U.S. and throughout the world.”

Sanders also spoke out about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he called a “disastrous trade agreement,” which he said, “follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements.” Sanders added that such agreements have “forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world.”

Warren on China

“What I’d like to see us do is rethink all of our trade policy. And I have to say, when President Trump says he’s putting tariffs on the table, I think tariffs are one part of reworking our trade policy overall,” Warren told CNN.

China, like Russia, is “working flat-out to remake the global order to suit their own priorities,” Warren said in a speech last November.

Gillibrand on China

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), on multiple past occasions, has joined with other senators to call for actions against unfair Chinese trade practices, particularly renewable energy subsidies and restricting exports of rare-earth metals.

Mixed feelings

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) is in favor of some tariffs on China but against them on others. For example, because soybean tariffs affect farmers in her state she is against them. However, she is supporting anti-dumping tariffs on steel.


Harris on tariffs

It’s no surprise that Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) is against tariffs on China being that her state is home to some of America’s largest technology companies.

“These tariffs would be particularly harmful for California, which has the country’s largest consumer electronics sector,” Harris wrote in a letter. “The industry contributes $438 billion each year to California’s economy and directly employs over 900,000 workers in the state. Over 80,000 of these jobs are supported by exports.”

Biden on tariffs

Former Vice President Joe Biden developed a close relationship with China and its leader as he served under President Barack Obama. He is in favor of solving discrepancies without resorting to tariffs.

“There are answers, without in any way changing trading rules and the rest,” Biden said.