U.S. President Donald Trump is now deciding on whether to implement an additional $200 billion dollars of tariffs on Chinese products. As of now, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $50 billion on China and China has returned the insult. The two largest economies are making little progress in talks. What does this have to do with the art world? Dealers, curators, and collectors of Chinese antiquities and contemporary Chinese art are very upset, reports the Wall Street Journal.
artnet News has a long article on the subject, which includes a remark from Kate Fitz Gibbon, an attorney and executive director of the nonprofit Committee for Cultural Policy, in New Mexico: “It’s silly to impose a tariff on something that’s ancient or old. It has no effect on the current economy. You don’t manufacture or grow or produce antiquities or antiques.”
The article also discusses how it would impact contemporary Chinese art, as Daniel Chen, director of Chambers Fine Art, which specializes in contemporary Chinese art and operates branches in New York and Beijing, states:
“It’s very straightforward in terms of how it would affect us. We import works of art several times a year to exhibit, to sell, and to showcase. If there is a 25 percent tariff on that, it would make our lives extremely difficult. Nearly all of the artists Chambers shows are Chinese, and the majority of them live and work inside China. We’re an American company and the largest portion of our client base is in the US, so this negatively affects people in this country. It doesn’t make sense.”
The expected 25% tariff could become effective as soon as August 23.