United States to move forward on US$200b China tariff list

11 July, 2018, 08:06 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Dealing rooms were in sombre mood early

Some companies had successfully lobbied to get their products excluded from an earlier list of United States tariffs.

The president last month asked the US Trade Representative's office to identify US$200 billion of Chinese goods that could be hit with 10 per cent tariffs.

Tariff hikes are "hitting immediately the bottom line" of companies that rely on the free flow of trade across countries, said Mats Harborn, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there was "no justification" for China's retaliation. Beijing immediately retaliated with similar duties on USA exports. US President Donald Trump had warned then that his country may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese imports.

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Mr Lighthizer said the products targeted by the tariffs are those that benefit from China's industrial policy and forced technology transfer.

Meanwhile, US Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee called the move "reckless". The latest list and round of tariffs comes on the heels of two other rounds of tariffs imposing 25 percent duties on $34 billion and $16 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Chinese tariffs have already taken a toll on USA exports such as soybeans, which raises questions about the possible political repercussions President Trump could face from farmers who supported him in the 2016 election. President Donald Trump had ordered him last month to draw up the list in the event China retaliated against a previous round of USA tariffs.

The Trump administration has accused companies in China of repeatedly committing intellectual property theft and other unfair trade practices, while it says China's government remains unresponsive to its concerns.

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"Unfortunately, China has not changed its behaviour - behaviour that puts the future of the United States economy at risk". "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", Lighthizer said.

The fight with China comes as Mr. Trump is also locked in a trade war with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and other USA allies. Chinese tactics, the administration said, include outright cybertheft and forcing USA companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

This dispute comes alongside the USA confrontation with other allies and major trading partners including Canada, Mexico and the European Union, for the steep tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum.

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