10 Everyday Items That Cost You Way More Thanks to U.S. Import Taxes

A bite out of your sandwich. Peanut imports are subject to an ad valorem tax up to 163.8%. (Alamy)
A bite out of your sandwich. Peanut imports are subject to an ad valorem tax up to 163.8%. (Alamy)


By Alex Brokaw

It might be said that America is a country built on tariffs. In 1790, Alexander Hamilton proposed The Act Laying Duties on Imports, which suggested imported goods should be more expensive to protect American industries. Since the law was passed into legislation, taxes on imports have been an American mainstay, and have helped to support our industries ever since.

Of course, tariffs have also sparked controversy and political battles, especially in the last few decades. Recent headlines on tariffs have highlighted the ongoing economic tensions between the United States and China. In June, the Department of Commerce announced preliminary tariff hikes as high as 5.81% on Chinese solar-product manufacturers Trina Solar (TSL) and Suntech Power Holdings (STP) in an effort to protect U.S. manufacturers. And this month, the United States filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization for China's tariffs on U.S.-manufactured automobiles.

U.S.-China relations are only a single, albeit considerably complex, factor that play into a host of import taxes influenced both by international relations and private and public interests.

Here, Minyanville braves the complexities of the United States' current Tariff Schedule and digs up some of America's highest, least expected, and most controversial duties.


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