Trump Suspends Tariffs on Board Games and Toys from China, for Now Anyway

Trump presses pause on a problem of his own making.
Photo: Getty Images

It looks like board games, toys, and video games won’t be seeing a monumental price hike anytime soon. President Donald Trump has announced that he’s suspended the planned $300 billion worth of additional tariffs against select imported goods from China—although, knowing Trump, this could easily be undone a week from now.

The Trump administration has halted its plans to impose additional tariffs on $300 billion “List 4" goods, which would have included a 25 percent tariff on select tabletop games and accessories, toys, and video game consoles. The tariffs were designed to escalate Trump’s ongoing trade war with China (of his own making), but following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend, he decided to postpone. Though Trump insisted China was paying the tariffs, the Associated Press reminded everyone that it’s the U.S. who would be bearing the brunt of the decision:

Trump refuses to recognize a reality that his own chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has acknowledged. Tariffs are mainly if not entirely paid by companies and consumers in the country that imposes them. China is not sending billions of dollars to the U.S. treasury.

In a study in May , the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, with Princeton and Columbia universities, estimated that tariffs from Trump’s trade dispute with China were costing $831 per U.S. household on an annual basis. And that was based on the situation in 2018, before tariffs escalated. The analysts also found that the burden of Trump’s tariffs falls entirely on U.S. consumers and businesses that buy imported products.

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When Trump announced the planned tariffs last month, the backlash was quick and severe. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo released a joint statement condemning the tariffs, and Betrayal at House on the Hill developer Mike Selinker wrote an op-ed for Polygon saying they’d kill the board game industry. According to Tabletop Wire, the Toy Association even testified before a U.S. Trade Representative hearing last week, saying the tariffs could kill 68,000 jobs and severely increase prices on toys.

Both parties have agreed to talk further, but a date hasn’t been set. Of course, knowing Trump, this could all go haywire in the next few days or weeks. Either that, or things will go back to “normal” and we’ll just forget about that time Trump almost devastated the tabletop game industry for no goddamn reason. Who knows. I’m gonna go nap on my desk.


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About the author

Beth Elderkin

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.