At Large  August 14, 2018  Chandra Noyes

New Import Tariffs Threaten Art Market

flickr/Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump

A new set of tariffs proposed by President Trump could hit the art world this month. As part of continued efforts to reduce the US’s trade deficit with China, the list of items subject to import tariffs continues to grow. Set to go into effect as soon as late August, that list now includes categories covering paintings, sculpture, collage, ceramics, and antiques from China. The 25 percent import tariff would present a heavy burden to galleries, individual collectors, and museums in the US.

flickr/Ungry Young Man

Sotheby's London Important Chinese Art Auction

Many feel that the tariff is exorbitantly punitive, given that China already has restrictive laws regarding the export of their cultural patrimony, and that the art market is relatively small. The US Department of Commerce calculates the market’s worth to be $280 million (which some consider a low estimate), which seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the $375 billion trade deficit President Trump is attempting to rectify.

Open hearings on the proposed tariffs are set to take place August 20-23, and many art institutes will undoubtedly voice their opposition.

Art & Object will continue to follow these developments in the coming weeks.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.