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PC hardware prices go up as Trump tariffs go back into effect

A message from hardware maker ASUS regarding pricing on motherboards and graphics cards has the PC gaming community bracing for higher prices in 2021 as exemptions to Donald Trump’s import tariffs on Chinese products expire.

In a statement reported Tuesday by WCCFTech, ASUS announced MSRP changes reflecting “increases in cost for components, operating costs, and logistical activities, plus a continuation of import tariffs.” The statement from Juan Jose Guerrero III, a technical product marketing manager for ASUS, first appeared in the company’s Facebook group. It has since been removed. Polygon has reached out to an ASUS representative for additional comment.

The Trump administration in 2018 imposed tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods, leading many companies to ask for, and receive, temporary waivers to the import tariffs. Tariffs are not a tax collected from the exporting country or its manufacturers; they are paid by the citizens and the businesses of the country imposing them.

The waivers expired at midnight Dec. 31, reinstating tariffs that range from 7.5% to 25%. Already some retailers are showing price hikes on some ASUS graphics cards. Although not in stock either through ASUS’ own storefront, or NewEgg, the ROG STRIX LC Radeon RX 6800 XT is now $1,079.99; it launched at $899.99. A non-XT variant of the same product, which launched at $579.99, is now $839.99.

It’s also not in stock, reflecting another, non-tariff related problem with PC hardware: demand has well outstripped supply for the components since the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic. ASUS’ statement about the price changes acknowledges “this time of unprecedented market change.”

TechPowerUp has a list of other hardware and their price increases.

In 2019, a joint statement from console makers Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft predicted American consumers would absorb almost $840 million in additional costs if tariffs on those devices went through. They won a reprieve later that summer, which delayed the imposition of 25% tariffs until the following December.

ASUS on Monday announced a CES 2021 live stream for Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. EST, during which new designs of its ROG and TUF gaming laptops will be shown.

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