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Missing from the current trade debate is an often misunderstood fact about tariffs. Tariffs are paid by importers bringing goods into the U.S. Therefore, a tariff becomes a cost of the goods which is passed along in a higher price to the consumer.

Most people (including a surprising number of lawmakers) don’t understand that a tariff is not paid by the foreign country. It is a tax paid by the U.S. consumer. So while the intent is to make the foreign item more expensive and less competitive with U.S.-made items, the bottom line is that we all pay more.

Skip Kotkins, Seattle