Research

Trump Orders Tariffs on Chinese Goods Over 'Economic Aggression'

Trump Orders Tariffs on Chinese Goods Over 'Economic Aggression'

The United States has finally taken a direct shot at China's trade and economic policies. It rejected Trump's contention they are needed to protect USA national security.

Kennedy said a deal to cut China's $375 billion US goods trade surplus by $100 billion is far easier to achieve with additional purchases of USA soybeans, beef, liquefied natural gas, Boeing aircraft and other equipment.

The latest trade action sent stocks diving as fears rise that the USA, which accuses China of mass theft of intellectual property and other unfair practises, could provoke a damaging trade war. The White House's fact sheet lays out plans to levy a 25 percent tariff on roughly 1,300 Chinese goods, likely in strategic sectors such as information technology, robotics, advanced rail and shipping, new energy vehicles, and high-tech medicine and health care.

On Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee that the aforementioned countries would be exempt from the tariffs, at least for now.

"It doesn't make sense to impose tariffs on US brand products that are made for American companies to make profits", said a senior official in Sichuan Province, where iPad production has fueled economic growth. "Don't believe it? Come try us".

Beyond the tariffs target - which will target goods worth $50 billion according to US officials and $60 billion according to the president - the Trump administration will pursue complaints against China in the WTO, in accordance with Section 301.

Mr Trump has also asked his administration, led by Treasury, to examine Chinese investment aimed at obtaining United States technology. For now, though, the Treasury is probably still hashing out the details.

The WTO generally takes its own good time in sorting out these complex disputes.

US wine exports to China past year were $79 million, according to data from the US Wine Institute, which represents Californian wine makers.

The ministry said Beijing was considering a tariff increase of 25% on pork and aluminum scrap mirroring Trump's 25% charge on steel
The ministry said Beijing was considering a tariff increase of 25% on pork and aluminum scrap mirroring Trump's 25% charge on steel

When tech companies use contract electronics manufacturers to keep prices competitive, that gives the contractors more know-how, the official said.

The administration is eager to use the coming penalties to try to force Chinese officials to cease alleged actions including acquiring all or shares of USA firms to obtain data about American technologies they then hand to Chinese firms that dominate the markets there that depend on those stolen technologies.

China potential measures were not confined to commodities, and tourism could be a possible target, he added. Finally, reports have circulated in Chinese state media that Beijing may drop aircraft orders from USA aerospace firm Boeing Co.in favor of France's Airbus. But just how far the action might go will not be decided for months.

Mr Trump also gave the Treasury Department 60 days to develop investment restrictions aimed at preventing Chinese-controlled companies and funds from acquiring U.S. firms with sensitive technologies.

A Trade Dispute Like Any Other?

It also blunts the potential fallout to the U.S. economy from the implementation of these trade barriers.

Ross later rattled free-trade Republicans when, on CNBC, he agreed that the Chinese tariffs would produce "some ultimate retaliation, but I don't think it's going to be the end of the earth". That's a plan with a likelihood of high casualties for both sides. The key variable in this case is whether the United States will follow the standard protocol. As news of the impending announcement spread, China announced that it was preparing tariffs of its own on USA soybeans, sorghum and live hogs, all of which originate in areas that overwhelmingly supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

After China's announcement, the White House declared a temporary exemption for the EU, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea on steel and aluminum tariffs, implicitly highlighting the focus on China.

However, there the roll-out of Section 301 will be slow, and if the recent steel and aluminium tariffs are any guide the is plenty of room for wheeling and dealing and carve outs which dramatically cut the big headline figure.

More news: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt secures second term of presidency


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