On Aug. 13, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released two lists of Chinese goods that will be subject to the 10% tariff on Chinese imports, which President Trump announced on Aug. 1, 2019. The first list of goods will be subject to the tariff effective Sept. 1, 2019, and the second list of goods will be subject to the tariff effective Dec. 15, 2019.
Unfortunately, for the U.S. art market and cultural institutions, Chinese-origin artworks, which include paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and antiques over 100 years old, currently appear on the final list of goods subject to the 10% tariff coming into effect on Sept. 1, 2019. The 10% tariff as currently proposed would apply to any such artworks originally created in China, regardless of the country of export, and would apply to any Chinese-origin artworks coming into the United States whether being imported for a loan, consignment, purchase or sale.
U.S. museums, dealers, auction houses and collectors find themselves in a similar position to that of a year ago, when the Trump administration proposed a 25% tariff on Chinese art and antiques. Ultimately, last year, the final list of goods subject to the 25% tariff excluded Chinese-origin art following an outcry from the U.S. art market.
The USTR is expected to publish additional details regarding the currently proposed 10% tariff in the Federal Register soon.