Tariff Revenues Up 75% in FY19; Still Equal Only 1.9% of Total Federal Tax Receipts

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 5, 2019 | 5:20 PM EDT

President Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, Nov. 9, 2017. (Getty Images/Thomas Peter-pool)

(CNSNews.com) - The tariff revenues brought in by the federal government were up 75.3 percent in the first nine months of fiscal 2019 compared to the first nine months of fiscal 2018, according to the data published in Table 3 of the Monthly Treasury Statements.

Despite this significant increase in tariff revenue from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2019, tariffs still equaled only 1.9 percent of total federal revenue in the first nine months of fiscal 2019.

In October through June of fiscal 2018, the federal government collected $28,784,820,000 (in constant June 2019 dollars) in customs duties (AKA tariffs). In October through June of fiscal 2019, the federal government collected $50,472,000,000 (in constant June 2019 dollars) in tariffs.

That was an increase of $21,687,180,000—or 75.3 percent.

In October through June of this fiscal year, while the federal government was collecting $50,472,000,000 in tariffs, it was collecting $2,608,855,000,000 in total taxes. The $50,472,000,000 in tariffs equaled 1.9 percent of the $2,608,855,000,000 in total taxes.

The largest source of federal tax revenue was the individual income tax. In October through June of this fiscal year, the Treasury collected $1,301,477,000,000 in individual income taxes. The $50,472,000,000 the government collected in tariffs during that same time period was equal to about 3.9 percent of the individual income taxes collected.

“The trade practices of U.S. trading partners and the U.S. trade deficit are a focus of the Trump administration,” the Congressional Research Service explained in a June 21 report on “Escalating U.S. Tariffs: Affected Trade.”

“Citing these and other concerns,” CRS said, “the president has imposed tariff increases under three U.S. laws: (1) Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 on U.S. imports of washing machines and solar products; (2) Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 on U.S. import of steel and aluminum, and potentially motor vehicle parts, uranium, and titanium sponge; and (3) Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 on U.S. imports from China.”

“The Administration has increased tariffs by 25% on roughly $250 billion of imports from China and has proposed a 25% tariff increase on the remaining roughly $300 billion (with some exceptions),” CRS said.

In 2018, according to the Census Bureau, the U.S. ran a $419.2 billion merchandise trade deficit with China. The next largest merchandise trade deficit was with Mexico—but that deficit was only $81.5 billion.

While the U.S. purchased $539.5 billion in goods from China in 2018, China purchased only $120.3 billion from the United States.

(Dollar values were adjusted to constant June 2019 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.)

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