Trump administration announces $22b in fresh tariffs on China

Ivan Schwartz
August 9, 2018

The move is the latest escalation of President Donald Trump's trade war with China.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration said it would begin collecting previously announced 25% tariffs on an additional $16bn of Chinese goods from 23 August.

China, however, would run out of USA imports to levy, as it bought only $130 billion worth of American goods a year ago.

Trump has threatened to levy a 25% tariff on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to the U.S. - a move that would blow open the disagreement between the countries. And Mr. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on virtually everything China sells to the United States.

However, analysts still expect a less favorable trade balance for China in coming months given it's early days in the tariff brawl. For instance, the major complaint is about the theft of USA intellectual property by Chinese firms. China has vowed to retaliate with equivalent tariffs against any US action.

Chinese data on Wednesday showed exports to the United States rose 13.3% in July to $41.5 billion against a year ago.

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Economists say China appears to be taking a more hands-off approach to the yuan, which marked its worst 4-month fall on record between April and July and has provided some reprieve for exporters in the face of the rising trade tensions.

Washington already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products on July 6.

Announcing the new duties, the US Trade Representatives Office: "China directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, US companies and assets to generate large-scale technology transfer". There is a mandatory 60-day comment period for industries to ask for exemptions from the tariffs.

His administration confirmed that its trade assault would soon cover more than $50 billion of products from China.

The trade balance between the two countries, which is at the center of the tariffs tussle, continued to be in favor of China. The number of categories of goods subject to tariffs rose to 333 from 114 in the June draft, although the total value is unchanged.

Should the U.S. proceed with those tariffs, China's ready to slap duties on an additional US$60 billion of American goods.

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