Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo Jointly Ask for Video Game Consoles to be Exempt from Anti-China Tariffs


As reported last month, Trump's decision to impose up to 25% extra tariffs on Chinese imported goods could impact the video game consoles industry as they were included in the initial document draft proposed by the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

We mentioned in the previous article that affected parties had the chance to submit their own comments on this action by June 17th and surely enough, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo jointly wrote a letter asking for video game consoles to be exempt from said tariffs.

Game Consoles Are Included in USTR’s Official Document of Proposed Products for Trump’s Extra 25% Tax

At the outset, we note that we support the Entertainment Software Association’s (“ESA”)
submission requesting removal of a broader range of videogaming-related Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) subheadings from the final tariff list. As leading video game console manufacturers, we submit this separate submission to highlight the enormous impact and undue economic harm that proposed tariffs on video game consoles would have on the entire video game ecosystem.

In particular, tariffs on video game consoles would:
• Injure consumers, video game developers, retailers and console manufacturers;
• Put thousands of high-value, rewarding U.S. jobs at risk; and
• Stifle innovation in our industry and beyond.

While we appreciate the Administration’s efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property and
preserve U.S. high-tech leadership, the disproportionate harm caused by these tariffs to U.S. consumers and businesses will undermine—not advance—these goals. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Administration remove HTSUS subheading 9504.50.00, covering video game consoles, from the final list of tariffs, and thus refrain from applying tariffs on these products.

In the letter, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo highlighted the following five good reasons to do so:

  1. Our Companies and the Video Game Industry Drive U.S. Economic Growth and
    Technological Innovation
  2. Video Game Consoles Are Highly Specialized Products With Complex Supply Chains
  3. Beyond Video Game Console Makers, U.S. Consumers, and U.S. Retailers, the Proposed
    Tariffs Would Asymmetrically Harm Small and Medium-Sized Software Developers Across
  4. Tariffs Could Hinder or Delay Technological Innovation in a Broad Range of Applications
    Beyond Gaming
  5. Imposing Tariffs on Video Game Consoles Would Not Be “Practicable or Effective to
    Obtain the Elimination” of China’s Problematic IP Practices

Of course, that doesn't mean they'll get their wish. We'll keep you updated on what the Trump administration chooses to do going forward in this matter.