As a Tax Exemption Expires, the Art Trade Is Slammed With a New Tariff on Chinese Artworks Imported

President Donald Trump. Photo by Thomas Peter-Pool/Getty Images.

Art dealers and auction houses are up in arms over a new tax on Chinese art entering the US. Starting September 1, a temporary exclusion for most categories of Chinese art expired—the remaining exception is for paintings—and now sculpture, engravings, prints, collages, and antiques are subject to a 7.5 percent tax upon import to the US.

The tariff “certainly puts the US trade at a disadvantage and undermines the ability of auctioneers to attract consignments to New York,” said art dealer James Lally.

“Imposing tariffs on Chinese art is yet another blow to a US art market already crippled” by the shutdown, said Kate Fitz Gibbon, executive director of the Committee for Cultural Policy. The latest obligations “disproportionately harm small businesses. Additional long-term harm will be to collectors, museums, and to the public, which benefit both by the expertise and passion that collectors and specialist dealers bring to the Chinese art field, and through the art donations made by collectors to U.S. museums.”


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