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Asus GPU prices to tumble by up to 25% as US lifts tariffs
Other manufacturers may follow after import duties passed onto gamers, enthusiasts
The US government's lifting of import tariffs on graphics cards from China has already led to a drop in some prices in America.
Asus has promised the prices of some of its graphics cards will decline by up to 25 per cent starting next month. The company is cutting prices on Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series graphic cards from April 1, including the RTX 3050, 3060, 3070, and high-end 3080 and RTX 3090 cards.
"As a result of the latest tariff lift on Chinese imports from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, gamers and PC enthusiasts will see lower prices on starting on April 1st, 2022. Asus is among the first to pass these savings on to its consumers," Asus said in a statement on Monday.
The US trade rep last week decided to end Trump-era tariffs on hundreds of imports. The list includes GPUs, which the agency described [PDF] as a "printed circuit assemblies for rendering images onto computer screens (graphics processing modules)."
Specifically, the USTR has reinstated tariff exclusions on 352 of 549 eligible imports, which includes graphics processor cards, effectively removing the duties until December 2022. This temporary reinstatement can be extended again.
From what we can tell, prices of at least some graphics cards went up in the United States due to 25 percent tariffs put in place by the Trump administration, with the cost passed onto buyers. These cards are assembled in China from parts sourced from around the world, and imported into the US from the Middle Kingdom, hence the levy slapped on them. The global shortage in chips also forced up prices as demand outstripped supply in the pandemic.
Now, with these import duties removed, some prices are going back down to where they were somewhat. This doesn't guarantee you a card; there still needs to be enough supply to meet customer orders. And it doesn't guarantee all manufacturers will follow suit – some may hang onto higher prices due to the demand for the equipment.
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China has many chip testing and assembly operations, and was thriving in exporting components before tariffs slowed down shipments of GPUs and other electronics.
US imports for a category of components including graphics cards made in China totaled $1.57 billion in 2021, a drop from $3 billion in 2020, according to information extracted by The Register from the US International Trade Commission website.
American imports of that category from China peaked in 2018 at $4.4 billion. After tariffs were imposed by the Trump administration that year, imports from China on that product category dropped to $1.38 billion in 2019. By comparison, imports of GPUs and related products from Taiwan, which wasn't subject to tariffs, totaled $5.7 billion in 2021.
The tariff on products likes CPUs from China remains at 35 per cent according to information on the US Customs and Border Protection website. Trump initially imposed a 25 per cent tariff.
With tariffs lifted, graphics board makers could resume imports from China. Public import records show ASRock America, a subsidiary of Asus, importing VGA cards to the US from China-based Amertek Computer Shenzhen in July 2020. ®