New tariffs hit modems, routers, as “smart” products are spared for now
Today is Monday, September 24, 2018. It is the day when the new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration come into force. We’re talking about a ten percent increase effective today, which will grow to 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2019. The U.S. Trade Representative issued a list of products last week that spared some goods from the tariff increase.
A Reuters report confirms that “smart” devices are safe for now, but other home products like modems, routers and internet gateways are already affected. For example, routers and internet gateways from Arris International, Netgear, D-Link, and others will be affected by the new taxes. By contrast, Fitbit fitness trackers, the Apple Watch, and Amazon Echo smart speaker are exempted.
This clearly indicates a two-tiered approach for taxing consumer internet-related products.
“We’re operating under the assumption that the tens of millions of devices that deliver high-speed internet into consumers’ homes will be impacted by these tariffs. It feels anti-consumer because our devices are what enables the core of consumer tech”, said Jim Brennan, senior vice president of supply chain, quality and operations at Arris.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency spokesperson acknowledged that “modems, routers, switching and networking gear that keep the internet functioning” were not included in the list of excepted products. “Although we have not had occasion to issue rulings on the scope of a provision for ‘switching and routing apparatus,’ we agree that as a general matter, modems, routers, and networking equipment will be subject to the remedy,” the spokesperson said, referring to the 10 percent tariff.