Did Ike Perlmutter Help Get Trump to Pause Chinese Trade Taxes and Tariffs for Toys?

Once upon a time, Ike Perlmutter ran Toybiz, the toy company that first licensed Marvel action figures, was then bought out by Marvel putting Ike on the board and, after the Marvel bankruptcy, saw Perlmutter gain dominance and eventually sell Marvel to Disney, bagging himself one billion of the four billion dollar asking price. Along the journey Perlmutter also went up against the US Government over taxes and tariffs. Specifically having Toy Biz successfully argue that their action figures were toys, not dolls defined to include human figures, because they represented "nonhuman creatures". This decision effectively halved the tariff rate, from 12 percent tax to 6.8 percent. Toy Biz were granted reimbursement for import taxes on previous toys, totalling millions.

Defining that Marvel superhero characters were 'non human' got quite a negative fan reaction. Marvel responded to these concerns by claiming "our heroes are living, breathing human beings – but humans who have extraordinary abilities … A decision that the X-Men figures indeed do have 'nonhuman' characteristics further proves our characters have special, out-of-this world powers". Eventually the Harmonized Tariff Schedule was amended to eliminate the distinction between dolls and other toys, which are now in the same category.

Why is this coming up now? Well, the New York Post stated that current Marvel chair Ike Perlmutter was asked to go up against Donald Trump over something similar. The Perlmutters are Trump's biggest donors, part of his inauguration committee and involved with the Department of Veterans Affair – even sitting at his table for Thanksgiving rather than Trump's own family, as long-standing members of Mar-A-Lago.

But new Chinese taxes and tariffs planned from Trump, adding a 15-percent tariffs on dolls, games, electronics and other made-in-China goods, saw USA toy executives ask Perlmutter to plead their case. The Posts reports a toy executive saying "People have reached out to Isaac to speak on behalf of the industry. He's the guy from our perspective"

Did it work? The tariffs were, indeed, put on hold in what has been described as a stop-gap deal, but only as part of a wider trade deal between the US and China, and without tackling what had been the US' biggest Chinese concerns regarding industrial subsidies and state-owned enterprises to dominate global industries like steel and solar panels. Any involvement from Ike would likely have been minimal.

What may be more of note is influence that Perlmutter may have over copyright terms for a certain company called Disney…

ike perlmutter donald trump
Donald Trump shakes hands with Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter at a bill signing.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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