Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Trump administration adds to China trade pressure with higher tariff plan

Trump administration adds to China trade pressure with higher tariff plan

Washington imposed 25 per cent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

"The current unilateral threats and pressure from the United States will only backfire", he said. The move would risk further escalation of tensions between Washington and Beijing which are already mired in a trade war.

"The US side has repeatedly escalated the situation against the interests of both enterprises and consumers", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in its statement.

These new tariffs would affect about 38% of all American exports to China, which are worth about $170 billion in total.

The $200 billion list of goods targeted for tariffs - which also include Chinese tilapia fish, printed circuit boards and lighting products - would have a bigger impact on consumers than previous rounds of tariffs.

Trump has imposed tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports and another $34 billion in goods, mostly industrial equipment.

"If we're going to use tariffs, this gives us more flexibility and it's a more meaningful threat", he said, adding that Trump's pressure strategy will not work if he does not resolve trade disputes with USA allies such as the European Union, Mexico and Canada.

"We have been very clear about the specific changes China should undertake".

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A spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative's Office declined to comment on the proposed tariff rate increase or on whether changing them would alter the deadlines laid out for comment period before implementation.

China's foreign minister said Thursday that US threats to hike tariffs run against the trend toward globalization and will hurt USA businesses and consumers.

The ministers urged China and ASEAN to reach the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in the shortest time to facilitate free trade and regional economic integration, safeguard multilateralism and rules-based multilateral trading regime.

Washington touted its initial tariffs as being carefully constructed to avoid having a big impact on US consumers and companies, but the expansion of the tariff lists has drawn in more goods that can not be imported from outside China.

Trump has ultimately threatened tariffs on over $500 billion in Chinese goods, covering virtually all USA imports from China.

White House officials had hoped Trump's latest threat would frighten Chinese officials into negotiations, where Trump aims to secure more favorable terms for US manufacturers in one of the world's largest marketplaces.

Trump asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer in June to draft a plan for a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated at a regular news briefing that the United States' efforts at "blackmail" would fail.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said the goal of its China tariffs is not to build trade barriers against Chinese imports but to get the government to drop practices that result in the theft of US technology and block USA exports from the Chinese markets.

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