Trump moving forward with plans for new China tariffs

Erika Holt
September 19, 2018

The Trump administration will impose tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese goods starting next week, escalating a trade war between the world's two biggest economies and potentially raising prices on consumer goods ranging from handbags to bicycle tires.

Despite the changes, the new tariffs still will cover about US$200 billion worth of additional Chinese goods, as part of an intensifying trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

American officials said Monday they were conscious of the need for American businesses to find alternative suppliers before the tariffs hit.

"The president's negotiating tactics do not work well with China's way of thinking", said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at SS Economics in Los Angeles.

A White House statement said tariffs would start at 10 percent and go into effect in a week, on September 24, before kicking into full gear at 25 percent at the start of the new calendar year.

So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products to pressure Beijing to make sweeping changes to its trade, technology transfer and high-tech industrial subsidy policies. China imposed about $34 billion in retaliatory import charges.

Tariffs have put the a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country - and yet cost increases have thus far been nearly unnoticeable.

The tariffs will be 10 percent until the end of the year then go to 25 percent to allow businesses to adjust.

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Fang said that even if Trump puts tariffs on all Chinese exports to the United States, the negative impact on China's economy will be about 0.7 percent. He did not specify on whether he was referring to the impact on the amount of gross domestic product (GDP) or the growth rate of GDP.

On Monday morning, Trump defended his tariffs against China. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin invited top Chinese officials to a new round of talks last week, but thus far nothing has been scheduled. Yet despite months of tariff talk, the gap between what the United States buys from China and what it sells there continues to widen.

"For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies", Trump said.

Australian stocks are set for a weak start with the futures index falling following reports President Trump will finally impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would announce his latest plan on Chinese commerce after markets closed. But that drew loud opposition from farmers and US companies. He campaigned on a promise to tax imports and rewrite or tear up trade agreements that he said put USA companies and workers at a disadvantage. Through the end of August, the administration had collected almost US$22b in revenue because of its new tariffs, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. And in a victory for Apple Inc. and its American customers, the administration removed smart watches and some other consumer electronics products from the list of goods imported from China.

In response to President Trump's threatened tariffs, Beijing has teed up tariffs of five to 25 percent on $60 billion of USA goods including pig hides, cocoa butter and condoms.

But the adjustments did little to appease technology and retail groups who argued that the tariffs would hit consumers hard.

"President Trump's reckless and will create lasting harm to communities across the country", said Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents major tech firms. This drive does not arise from the heads of the capitalist politicians-their actions are only the translation into politics of the objective logic and irresolvable contradictions of the capitalist system over which they preside. "Consumers - not China - will bear the brunt of these tariffs and American farmers and ranchers will see the harmful effects of retaliation worsen".

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