Date
25 September 2018
Donald Trump is acting on his recent threats to expand tariffs on Chinese goods, raising the prospects of a prolonged trade war. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump is acting on his recent threats to expand tariffs on Chinese goods, raising the prospects of a prolonged trade war. Photo: Reuters

US unveils tariffs on extra US$200 bln of Chinese imports

The United States announced on Tuesday that it plans to impose 10 percent tariffs on an extra US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports, raising the stakes in a trade war with China.

The Trump administration released a wide-ranging list of Chinese goods it proposes be hit with tariffs, including hundreds of food products as well as tobacco, coal, chemicals and tires, and consumer electronics including television components, Reuters reports.

“For over a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in announcing the proposed tariffs.

“Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against US products … There is no justification for such action,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

Last week, Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded immediately with matching tariffs on the same amount of US exports to China.

President Donald Trump has said he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than US$500 billion worth of Chinese goods – roughly the total amount of US imports from China last year.

Some American business groups and senior lawmakers sharply criticized the latest action on Tuesday, with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican, saying it “appears reckless and is not a targeted approach.”

The US Chamber of Commerce also criticized the administration’s move.

“Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple. Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every day goods for American families, farmers, ranchers, workers, and job creators. It will also result in retaliatory tariffs, further hurting American workers,” a Chamber spokeswoman said, according to Reuters.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a lobby group representing the largest US retailers, said: “The president has broken his promise to bring ‘maximum pain on China, minimum pain on consumers.’”

“American families are the ones being punished. Consumers, businesses and the American jobs dependent on trade, are left in the crosshairs of an escalating global trade war,” Hun Quach, the head of international trade policy for the group, was quoted as saying.

Administration officials said a two-month process will allow the public to comment on the proposed tariffs before the list is finalized.

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RC

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