Trump moving forward with plans for new China tariffs

Dwayne Harmon
September 18, 2018

US President Donald Trump on Monday (Sept 17) defied warnings and escalated the trade confrontation with China, hitting the country with tariffs starting next week on another US$200 billion in imports and threatening to target even more if Beijing retaliates.

Additionally, Trump said USA will tariff $267bn of additional Chinese imports if Beijing takes retaliatory action against U.S. farmers or other industries.

Mr Trump's economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, earlier said they were still happy to talk: "We are ready to negotiate and talk with China anytime they are ready for serious and substantive negotiations", he said.

China has vowed to retaliate against new US tariffs, with state-run media arguing for an aggressive "counterattack".

The tariffs will be applied to more than 1,000 Chinese products, including consumer goods like electronics, bicycles, tires, and furniture - all pumped out of Chinese factories in vast quantities for cheap export.

Sohn said the Trump administration is pursuing a legitimate goal of getting China to stop violating worldwide 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.

"Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China - but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive".

US President Donald Trump was poised to ratchet up his trade dispute with China, with a major announcement promised later Monday that could see hundreds of billions in goods subjected to fresh import duties.

Trump "has not been satisfied with the talks with China on this", Kudlow said. "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.

China has promised to retaliate against the move by adding tariffs ranging from 5 to 25 per cent on US$60 billion of USA products.

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This corroborates earlier reports from Monday, which cited an anonymous senior administration official.

"Our concern with these tariffs is that the U.S. will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower United States growth and competitiveness and higher prices for USA consumers", Apple said in a letter commenting on the proposal.

According to a statement on the Ministry of Commerce website, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan held talks with representatives from six multinationals on Monday, promising them that China's market would be more open to them and that Beijing would enhance intellectual property protection.

The timing for activating the additional tariffs was unclear.

Trump has always been fiercely critical of China, accusing it during the 2016 campaign of "the rape" of the American economy and vowing to create a more balanced trade pattern. We should be talking with them, not merely sitting back and observing.

"Tensions in the global economic system have manifested themselves in the U.S".

Trump's tariffs on China raise costs and create uncertainty for companies that have built supply chains that span the Pacific Ocean.

The statements come as relations between the United States and China appear to strain. Canada, for instance, imposes high tariffs on some imported dairy products as part of price supports for its farmers.

And as the China tariffs are imposed, top officials of the European Union are meeting to discuss how they might overcome the financial sanctions the United States will impose against European companies if they maintain economic ties with Iran after November 4 following the unilateral abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal.

Talks between the European Union and Britain on Brexit are being conducted in a spirit of "good cooperation", said Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator on the issue. Some companies are looking to move out of China to dodge the tariffs, said Ted Murphy, a partner at the Baker McKenzie law firm.

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