President Donald Trump moved the USA to the brink of a trade war with China, announcing tariffs on $50bn (R670bn) of Chinese imports that America’s biggest trading partner has vowed to retaliate against.
The initial list mostly targets Chinese goods that fall under the “Made in China 2025” initiative, or other Chinese government-backed programs aimed at advancing Chinese industry. Trump claims China’s theft of American intellectual property and technology made the tariffs a necessary part of conducting business.
Trump’s China trade offensive is only one side of his multifront trade confrontation with all major USA economic partners.
The White House on Friday announced plans to slap 25 per cent tariffs on more than 1,100 Chinese products, worth $50 billion a year in imports.
The official Xinhua news agency said China would impose 25 per cent tariffs on 659 USA products, ranging from soybeans and cars to seafood.
“With regards to our allies in Europe, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere, there are real dangers in engaging in a ‘war of each against all, ‘ which could reduce the welfare of the entire world, including the United States”, Jeffry Frieden and Joel Trachtman of Harvard University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University wrote in a report on Friday.
The tariffs cover 1,102 separate product categories, according to a list from the US Trade Representatives Office.
President Donald Trump just imposed tariffs on hundreds of Chinese products – from X-ray tubes to incinerators.
China has pledged any tariffs will void progress made in recent trade talks between Beijing and Washington and has drawn up its own list of $50 billion in U.S. goods to target.
US President Donald Trump on Friday was due to unveil a final list of Chinese imports that would face punishing tariffs, fanning fears of a trade war as Beijing warned that it could swiftly strike back.
Trump recently hit USA allies including the European Union, Canada, and Mexico with tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
These tariffs will impose higher costs on US companies that use the equipment.
On Thursday, International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Christine Lagarde warned that the Trump administration’s trade policies were likely to hurt the USA economy and undermine the world’s trade system.
“Imposing tariffs places the cost of China’s unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers”, said Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time”, Trump said Friday. These products will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, after which USTR will issue a final determination.
IMF Director Christine Lagarde said Thursday that a trade war would lead to “losers on both sides” and could have a “serious” impact. “These tariffs won’t reduce or eliminate China’s abusive trade practices, but they will strain the budgets of working families by raising consumer prices”. Among the specific goods listed by the Chinese government are “unrefined pig fat”, coconuts with or without shell, all kinds of rice (including rice flour), frozen orange juice, whiskey, and octopus. “China will retaliate and we will be at the beginning of a very nasty trade war if we proceed with this today”.