Kudlow Overstates American, Chinese and European Tariffs

In Economy, Misleading Information On


what was said

“America is the lowest-tariff country in the world. I mean, there may be New Zealand or something, smaller countries, not to demean them. But of the major, we have the lowest-tariff country in the world. Our average tariff, I think, is about 2.5 percent. Now, China’s average tariff is about 14 percent. It was worse, but they haven’t made any progress lately. By the way, Europe’s is also rising.”

— Mr. Kudlow, in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday

the facts

This is exaggerated.

Mr. Kudlow was seeking to justify Mr. Trump’s trade dispute with China and the European Union with a dramatic — but overstated — comparison of tariffs that each impose.

Even among major economies, the United States does not have the lowest tariffs in the world, though they are among the lowest.

The president’s 2018 economic report compared the average tariffs that six high-income countries, eight emerging economies and the European Union imposed on most-favored nations in 2016.

According to the report, the United States charged most-favored nations an average tariff of 2.4 percent on manufacturing products — which is similar to the 2.5 percent Mr. Kudlow cited.

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