First round of United States tariffs on Chinese goods to hit $50B - USTR

Clay Curtis
August 8, 2018

The two sides have shown no signs of letting up, with the USA earlier Wednesday saying it will begin collecting 25 percent tariffs on another $16 billion in Chinese goods on August 23, and Chinese media resorting to personal attacks against Trump earlier in the week.

A weaker yuan, which marked its worst 4-month fall on record between April and July, may have taken the sting out of 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion exports to the United States.

Beijing has retaliated with its own duties on $34bn of USA goods.

The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said its "exhaustive" investigation showed "China's acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory and burden US commerce".

The tariffs are aimed at industrial, rather than consumer, imports.

The fresh tariffs will apply to 279 items.

Mr Trump has said he would be willing to hit all of China's imports with duties.

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All in all, China's trade surplus with the U.S. shrank to $28.08 billion in July against $28.97 billion in the previous month. Beijing is expected to hit $16 billion worth of United States goods with equal tariffs in response to Tuesday's move.

Trump's mission to reduce the U.S. trade deficit via the threat of tariffs has brought him into conflict with China as well as United States allies, roiling financial markets and raising fears of a global trade war the International Monetary Fund has warned may undermine the strongest economic upswing in years. There is a mandatory 60-day comment period for industries to ask for exemptions from the tariffs. Chinese imports worth $34 billion would be subject to the new 25% tariff as of July 6, with another $16 billion worth of imports subject to the tariff at a later date.China retaliateswith an equivalent set of tariffs.

May 19: After a meeting, the two countriesannounce the outline of a trade dealto avoid the tariffs.

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

June 18: Trumpthreatens a 10% tariff on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

China has already retaliated with duties of its own, and has pledged to match the USA dollar for dollar with new tariffs. China in turn retaliated by proposing tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods, with the extra levies ranging from 5 to 25 percent.

China's exports growth unexpectedly accelerated in July despite fresh US tariffs, while its trade surplus with the United States remained near record highs as Beijing and Washington ramped up a bitter dispute that has rattled financial markets.

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