Maybe Hold Off on That Washing Machine for Now

One of the great pleasures in life is doing your laundry at home. If that sounds outlandish, you probably haven't rented an apartment without facilities in the building. (It's definitely a thing.) But if you were thinking of splurging on a washer-dryer soon, either act fast or re-budget now.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced a set of new tariffs on certain foreign-made technologies. One was against solar panels, a move that is likely to add about $650 to a homeowner's average installation costs. The other was against washing machines.

The proclaimed intention behind such a policy shift is to protect American manufacturing, whose sales of the products have declined while imports have steadily risen. Brands like LG and Samsung are already telling retailers to watch out for price increases, even though many of their products are actually made in the U.S. Goldman Sachs predicts prices on imported washing machines may go up anywhere from 8 percent to 20 percent; the Wall Street Journal estimates a hike of about $50 on LG products. CEOs are quick to say that no one is sure yet what the changes will entail.

If shopping American is a factor for you, look out for GE, Maytag, Speed Queen, and Whirlpool machines. If you're annoyed by the tariffs, know that they're set to diminish and then expire over the course of three years. If it all seems like an unusual and oddly specific policy shift, you're not wrong. It falls back on a little-used trade law, which doesn't necessarily require proof of wrongful conduct or unfair practices. And if this is one more thing to mull over at the laundromat, just know that you're not alone.