Shoppers in a US mall: consumers are paying for the tariffs Trump imposed on Chinese goods

Businesses and consumers in the US paid $6.8 billion in tariffs in July, according to the free-trade advocacy groups Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and the Trade Partnership.

According to Business Insider, that was the highest monthly total in US history and a 62% increase from the same period a year earlier.

“You can’t budget for a double-digit tariff increase, and you can’t plan a business when you’re living tweet-by-tweet,” said Jonathan Gold, the spokesperson for Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.

“The administration needs to use upcoming negotiations to end a trade war that truly has no winners.”

The month of record tariff revenue came before significant escalations between the US and China, which the White House said were necessary to pressure China to change unfair trade practices.

Both sides increased tariffs on thousands of each other’s products this month, targeting far more consumer imports than in previous tranches.

Trump acknowledged in August for the first time that the cost of its tariffs could fall on Americans, delaying a portion of them until after the holiday shopping season.

He has also been briefed on a proposal to lower taxes by the amount raised in tariffs, though any such legislation would face an uphill battle in Congress.

The July figures were slightly higher than those reported by the government. In its latest monthly budget statement, the Treasury Department said the US collected $6.4 billion in customs duties

The Treasury Department is set to release official tariff figures for August on Thursday.