The Moment - Feb 22, 2020

Trump Imposes 10 Percent Tariff on Chinese Art and Antiques Starting September 1

  • August 15, 2019 14:38

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Detail of the Taber Family Tianqiuping from the Philbrook Museum of Art that sold at Christie's Hong Kong in 2018 for HK$130,600,000.

U.S. President Trump deepened his trade war with China by imposing a new 10% tariff on Chinese art, antiques and antiquities, among other goods. On Tuesday, the US Trade Representative (USTR) published a list of $300 billion worth of items subject to the tariff starting from September 1. Additional articles (such as toys and video games) will be subject to the tariff from December 15.

The USTR tariff list names “antiques exceeding 100 years, paintings, drawings, engravings, sculpture and statuary... collections of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological interest."

All such Chinese artworks will be taxed, without regards to the source of import.

Dealers in the Chinese art trade in the U.S. have argued against the proposed tariff, noting that American dealers and collectors rather than their Chinese counterparts would be the side adversely affected. 

“[The tariff] will act as a tax on all U.S. collectors, curators, and dealers buying anywhere on the international market,” said James Lally, a New York-based dealer specializing in Chinese art, in The Art Newspaper.

A year ago, U.S. arts industry representatives were able to remove Chinese art from a list subject to a 10% tariff, but in May a new list for a 25% tariff again included Chinese art. 


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