Trump raises stakes with new round of China tariffs

Ivan Schwartz
September 18, 2018

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Monday he will impose 10 percent US tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, but he spared smart watches from Apple and Fitbit Inc and other consumer products such as bicycle helmets and baby auto seats.

The taxes will take effect from 24 September, starting at 10% and increasing to 25% from the start of next year.

In a statement, the USA president said further tariffs worth $267bn (£203bn) will be placed on Chinese imports if Beijing takes "retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries".

"We can't do that anymore", Trump said. Some will bring operations to the United States - one of Trump's goals.

Trump has demanded that China cut its $375bn trade surplus with the United States, end policies aimed at acquiring U.S. technologies and intellectual property, and roll back high-tech industrial subsidies.

In an earlier round of tariffs on US$50 billion of goods, the Trump administration removed proposals on flat-panel television sets for the final list in June.

At a discussion hosted by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, six former chief U.S. trade negotiators decried the protectionist trade policies the Trump administration is pursuing and warned of the catastrophic effect they could have on the U.S. position in the global economic order.

"These practices plainly constitute a grave threat to the long-term health and prosperity of the United States economy", Trump said in a White House statement.

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After taking in public comments, the administration said Monday that it had withdrawn several items from an earlier list of $200 billion in Chinese imports, including child-safety products like bicycle helmets.

President Donald Trump is barreling ahead with his vow to punish China for alleged unfair trading practices, despite an invitation this month from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to restart trade talks with Beijing.

"I would encourage the national governments to resolve it as quickly as possible, because it's a concern for all". His comments are likely to further rattle USA businesses, which have pleaded with the administration to abandon the tariffs and warned they will raise prices, cost jobs and hurt the US economy.

Lobbying against the tariffs has risen sharply in Washington but Trump's policy has left candidates in competitive races for November's hard-fought midterm congressional elections in awkward positions.

Carla Hills, US trade representative from 1989 to 1993 under George H.W. Bush, took aim at the Trump administration's disdain for multilateral agreements.

Other officials who advise the country's leaders are suggesting China impose limits on the sale of parts and supplies needed by USA businesses, using "export restraints" to threaten their supply chains. But Trump quickly backed away from the truce.

U.S. President Donald Trump chose to begin taxing the imports - equal to almost 40 per cent of goods China sold the United States a year ago - after a public comment period. A senior Trump administration official told reporters that the United States was open to further talks with Beijing, but offered no immediate details on when any new meetings may occur.

"China is now paying us billions of dollars, and we will see how that all works out", the president said.

Other reports by GizPress

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