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Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are fighting Trump’s proposed gaming tariffs

Gaming giants have warned the US government of “undue economic harm”

Big names from the gaming world have joined forces to warn the Trump administration of the adverse effects of its newly proposed tariffs on goods imported from China, including a 25% tariff on games consoles.

The US government recently proposed tariffs against China amounting to $300 billion (£240 billion), as part of a broader ongoing trade war. The 25% tariff on video games consoles is set to hurt the industry, major firms have warned, resulting in job losses and restricting scope for innovation in the industry.

Companies including Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have joined forces with international trade and global policy lawyer Gina Vetere to pen a letter warning the Trump administration of the proposed taxes’ adverse effects.

The letter, addressed to Joseph Barloon, General Counsel to the US Trade Representative, warns of the “enormous impact and undue economic harm” that proposed tariffs on video games consoles would have on the “entire video game ecosystem”.

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In particular, the cohort warns of three major potential impacts: firstly, that the tariffs would harm consumers, video game developers and console manufacturers alike. Secondly, the proposed tax could put thousands of high-value US jobs at risk. The third and final adverse effect detailed is the potential for innovation to be stifled – in the video gaming industry “and beyond”.

The letter took a conciliatory tone – you catch more flies with honey, after all – registering its appreciation for the US government’s efforts to protect intellectual property and US-based high-tech leadership, before reasserting its belief that the tariffs would cause “disproportionate harm” to consumers and businesses.

A proposed plan of action requests that the Trump administration remove a broad range of “videogaming-related” subheadings from the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), thereby preventing tariffs from being rolled out.

Whether the letter, dated 17 June 2019, will have an impact remains yet to be seen, although with corporate clout from the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, the Trump administration might just prick its ears up.

We will update this story as we receive more information regarding the US government’s response.

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