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Business Report: How New Tariffs On Chinese Imports Hit U.S. Consumers

The Uber banner hangs on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, M...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The Uber banner hangs on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, May 10, 2019.

KPBS Evening Edition Host Ebone Monet spoke to SDSU marketing lecturer and co-founder of BottomLine Marketing, Miro Copic, to discuss some of the week’s top business stories.

Q: Today U.S. trade talks with China ended without a deal. In fact the U.S. has increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods from China from 10 percent to 25 percent. How will American consumers feel the impact of these tariffs?

A: They'll feel the impact on everything they buy. For example, families are expected to see, if you're buying just clothes for your family, up to $500 increase in the cost of those clothes. There was a study done by the Federal Reserve and the University of Chicago that showed the tariffs on washing machines also increased the cost of the dryer, since washers and dryers have sold together, and those increased 25 percent. So if you're buying a new washer and dryer that's an extra $200 coming out of your pocket due to the tariffs.

Q: So if we're paying more why is the U.S. doing this?

A: The U.S. trade policy is basically twofold. One is to bring back jobs the United States, and that's been the goal of every administration. The other thing is rectifying what they perceive as unbalanced trade.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Uber and Lyft drivers protest at the San Diego International Airport demanding higher wages, May 8, 2019.

Q: Uber and Lyft drivers actually protested outside of the San Diego airport, and across the nation drivers are saying they're not being paid enough. Uber went public today. What did we learn?

A: Uber's stock price dropped. Today it opened at $45 per share. It ended up at $41-$37 per share. What we found is that it's really driven by investors at the end of the day. The Uber models says that without being contract drivers, as opposed to employees, their model won't work. They drove $11 billion in revenues last year and they lost $3 billion. They're not even seeing profits in 2019. So investors are looking to a lot of things that Uber is doing, like scooters, electric bikes, autonomous vehicles, as the growth engine of the future.

Q: There is an assembly bill that would be a form of rent control. It would limit how much landlords could increase the rent from year to year. These types of bills usually are not very popular with developers. What are the pros and cons of something like this?

A: Well I think the goal of AB 1482 is to is to keep housing costs reasonable in California. And so they don't call it a rent control bill because that sets a specific price. But it's a rent cap bill. Developers don't like it because the minute you codify this, they're concerned. So it allows the owner to increase rent 5 percent plus the rate of inflation so it can go up to 10 percent. So you have flexibility. But the problem is the real estate market doesn't think that once you actually put the bill in place that next year people can go back and reduce the rent increase from 5 to 4 percent.

Reported by Anica Colbert

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