China trade war enters new phase

The prospect of new tariffs undercuts hopes of an imminent reduction in trade tensions between Washington and Beijing

The prospect of new tariffs undercuts hopes of an imminent reduction in trade tensions between Washington and Beijing

The United States will impose a 10 percent tariff later this month on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, increasing to 25 percent at the end of the year, the Trump administration announced Monday.

This comes one day after President Donald Trump announced a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports starting next week.

Contacted on Tuesday morning, a representative for the United States Trade Representative's (USTR) office would only cite Trump's Monday statement vowing further action in response to a request for comment on China's retaliatory tariffs.

So far, China has either imposed or proposed tariffs on $110 billion of U.S. goods, representing most of its imports of American products.

Such a move risks deepening the standoff, with President Donald Trump saying in a statement on Monday the USA would immediately pursue further tariffs on about $267bn of Chinese imports if Beijing retaliates. "The administration has imposed tariffs on roughly Dollars 50 billion worth of Chinese imports already, in an effort to encourage China to alter its behaviour", the official said.

Previously, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hit those goods with 25 percent tariffs immediately.

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"Today's decision makes clear that the administration did not heed the numerous warnings from American consumers and businesses about rising costs and lost jobs on Main Street, in factories, and on farms and ranches across the country", Donohue said, lamenting that the US government had turned a blind eye to the overwhelming opposition by businesses.

It is also the biggest set of tariffs to date, and unlike the earlier rounds this latest list targets consumer goods, such as luggage and furniture.

"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 statement from the Ministry of Commerce didn't note specific actions, though China has previously said it would retaliate with levies on $60bn worth of U.S. goods.

"Unfortunately, China has been unwilling to change its policies involving the unfair acquisition of USA technology and intellectual property".

The additional tariffs are on top of penalties enacted earlier this year on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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Trump is due to make the announcement after the close of US stock markets, where major indices were already sinking sharply in anticipation of what could be a major escalation in the US-China trade conflict.

Officials from the U.S. and China have met several times to address trade issues, most recently in August, but were unable to make much progress. The U.S. additional tariffs "have brought new uncertainties for bilateral consultations", a Ministry spokesperson said.

Liquefied natural gas, mineral ores, coffee and various types of edible oil will be among the United States products subject to the 10 percent tax.

While he estimated a negative hit to China's GDP growth of about 0.7 percentage points if the US goes ahead with tariffs on all China exports to the US, Fang also said he's confident that relations between both countries can normalise and said he hopes both sides can negotiate on an equal basis.

This latest round means that around half of all Chinese imports to the United States are now subject to the new duties. Tariffs would make it more expensive to develop and release new products, and if those costs aren't passed on to consumers, a company will either have to watch its profit margins dwindle or stop making affected products entirely.

"With these latest tariffs, many hardworking Americans will soon wonder why their shopping bills are higher and their budgets feel stretched", Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF, said.

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"There is no disagreement between the Congress and the President that we must hold China accountable for hurting the USA companies and workers on a colossal scale by extorting our companies to transfer their best technology, stealing our intellectual property, and shoring up China's state-run companies through subsidies and other distortive practices", Brady said.

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