China plans additional tariffs on 5,207 items of US products

Eileen GuzmanAug 06, 2018

Beijing yesterday revealed more than 5,200 American-made products would be slapped with new levies in response to a threat by Donald Trump's administration to impose additional duties on $200bn of Chinese goods. The timing of Friday's announcement hinted at that conflict.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting in South Africa as a trade war escalates with the U.S.

Mid-July, Trump threatened $500 billion in tariffs on China imports, escalating his prior threat to impose $200 billion on China.

Several countries, including China, had a say in the matter because Qualcomm sells its products globally and the proposed merger could have been seen as giving the company a price monopoly, it said.

Washington suggested the rate on the proposed extra tariffs could be increased from 10 to 25 per cent.

Coming on top of the tariff already imposed on $34 billion of United States goods, the new measures would mean that around 85 percent of usa exports to China would be affected. Taken in totality, the new Chinese proposals will cover $60 billion in United States imports.

The US wants concessions in three areas from China: more access to China markets by US banks and multinational corporations, including 51 percent and then 100 percent US corporate ownership of their operations there.

"Tariffs are working far better than anyone ever anticipated" and would make the USA "much richer than it is today", the president tweeted.

The ministry also said that the U.S. measures violated the World Trade Organization rules and damaged China's interests.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump praised his tariff plan and insisted, "steelworkers are working again, and big dollars are flowing into our Treasury".

The tariffs discussed in this week's pronouncements are still in the threat stage; they have not yet taken effect.

Trump apparently believes he can control the response of USA trading partners to his threats and intimidations, and that he can conclude token trade deals, if necessary, to avoid falling over the trade cliff of currency devaluations. Last year, China imported about $130 billion in goods from the United States.

Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers. But in the meantime, foreign nations are imposing tariffs on some USA goods such as soybeans and whiskey.

Unlike NAFTA and Europe, a quick settlement with China is not in the works.

The dispute is part of broader US complaints about global trading conditions that have prompted Trump to raise duties on steel, aluminum, washing machines or solar panels from Canada, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Although Kudlow called China intransigent, he said there were hints of both sides being able to get back around the negotiating table.

Trump campaigned on a promise to bring down America's massive trade deficits by renegotiating trade agreements and getting tough on countries like China that sell the USA far more than they buy from it.

"I sense that we're seeing a hardening of attitudes on both sides", said Jacob Parker, vice president of China relations at the U.S. China Business Council.

The events give Trump a chance to frame on his own terms his much-debated moves on trade, foreign policy, media-bashing and interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap surged 7.3 per cent to $46.3 billion.

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