Trump slaps tariffs on $200 bln in Chinese goods

Jeannie Matthews
September 19, 2018

President Trump opened up a new front his trade war with China by announcing plans to slap tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods.

If China retaliates for the latest USA duties, Trump threatened Monday to add a further $267 billion in Chinese imports to the target list.

U.S. President Donald Trump chose to begin taxing the imports - equal to almost 40 per cent of goods China sold the United States past year - after a public comment period.

While Trump says the tariffs will mean "a lot of money coming in to the coffers of the United States" they are really a tax on U.S. companies and consumers.

But if the Trump adminstration enacts a further $267 billion round of tariffs, the iPhone, along with all other smart phones, are likely to be included in the list.

In an earlier round of tariffs on $50 billion of goods, the Trump administration removed proposals on flat-panel television sets for the final list in June.

Sohn said the Trump administration is pursuing a legitimate goal of getting China to stop violating global trade rules but that it should have enlisted support from other trading partners, such as the European Union, Canada and Mexico, and presented Beijing with a united front.

"Consumers not China's will bear the brunt of these tariffs and American farmers and ranchers will see the harmful effects of retaliation worsen". The escalation of Trump´s tariffs on China comes after talks between the world´s two largest economies to resolve their trade differences have produced no results.

President Donald Trump, to the alarm of United States trading partners, has kept his course of aggressive trade policy, imposing punitive tariffs on countries he accuses of cheating American workers.

Beijing has vowed to retaliate on a range of United States products valued at around $60 billion.

"China may potentially pull out of trade talks entirely and escalate on the new front of outright export restrictions", analysts at JPMorgan told clients.

"But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices", he said.

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"After a thorough study, the USTR concluded that China is engaged in numerous unfair policies and practices relating to United States technology and intellectual property - such as forcing United States companies to transfer technology to Chinese counterparts", Monday's statement read.

Amid continued trade tensions with the world's second largest economy, Trump "has not been satisfied with the talks with China on this (and) my guess is announcements will be coming soon", economic advisor Larry Kudlow said earlier Monday on CNBC.

"Tariffs are a tax on American families, period", said Hun Quach, vice president for worldwide trade from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Smart watches, bluetooth devices removed from tariff list; bicycle helmets, baby vehicle seats, safety gear also excluded.

At the White House on Monday, he said the USA trade gap with China-the net between imported and exported goods between the two countries-was too large, and "We can't do that anymore". "I think that kind of tactic is not going to work with China", Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of China's securities regulator, said at a conference in the port city of Tianjin.

This led to the Australian dollar rising modestly to 71.8 U.S. cents, amid a weaker greenback overnight.

The tariffs will take effect on 24 September, and will rise to 25% from 1 January 2019.

Chinese chemical inputs for manufacturing and textiles and agriculture eliminated from tariff list.

But the adjustments did little to appease technology and retail groups who argued USA consumers would feel the pain.

Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham warned the trade war between the United States and China would hurt consumers and would have "possible negative effects" on other nation's economies.

The Chinese government said last week it welcomed Washington's proposal for more talks, though neither side has given any indication it is willing to compromise.

Last year, Southern California ports handled $173bn in Chinese imports, about a third of all goods shipped from China to the US, CNBC reported.

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