There Is a Toy Tariff Truce for Now as the U.S., China Reboot Trade Talks

As we head into what will be a long Fourth of July holiday weekend for many, the toy industry can breathe a little easier — for now. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to “restart” trade negotiations after months of escalating tensions and the threat of the oft-discussed next wave of tariffs, which threaten to tax more than $300 billion in U.S. imports from China — including toys and games.

Following Saturday’s meeting between the two presidents, The Toy Association expressed cautious relief.

“After months of advocacy at the highest levels of government, our leadership role in the Americans for Free Trade coalition, securing top Washington, D.C. firm Hogan Lovells in support of our external affairs team, and our relentless efforts to ensure the toy community’s story was heard in all forms of media, The Toy Association is relieved that the fourth list of tariffs has at least been delayed,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association.

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) issued a member update, reiterating a statement from ASTRA President Kimberly Mosley that was issued in May.

“Our economy depends on small, locally-owned businesses that create jobs and play a central role in keeping the consumer dollar circulating in their communities, where it supports local services through sales tax and invests in neighborhood improvement. Independent toy store owners and the manufacturers who supply the beloved toys they sell exemplify the value that small businesses provide.

Perhaps there are businesses that have the financial cushion and flexibility needed to absorb the higher costs and reduced sales that this latest round of tariffs will create for American retailers. Independent retailers typically do not. Family-owned neighborhood toy stores are unlikely to be positioned to weather the effect.

At a time when market forces are changing the retail landscape so significantly—resulting in the closing of hundreds of brick and mortar stores nationwide — it is more important than ever that our government and business community join together to support fair trade that gives locally-owned toy stores and their suppliers a reasonable chance to survive so that they can continue to bring healthy play to children everywhere.”

Last week, numerous players in the toy and game space, along with several retail partners, testified at the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. just days before the G20 kickoff.

Despite this week’s perhaps temporary truce, the toy industry is reminded not to let its guard down. Resources can be found at and

As always, information regarding tariffs on toys and games is very fluid, and the Toy Book will continue to monitor new developments with updates published here.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.