Trump poised to escalate China trade war by publishing US$200 billion hit list of new tariff targets

The list is likely to be released this week, US sources say, heralding the heaviest blow yet in the nascent trade conflict

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 7:26am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 3:32pm

US President Donald Trump is preparing to release a list of an additional US$200 billion in Chinese products to be hit with tariffs, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The list is likely to be released this week according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter isn’t public.

The publication of the list starts a weeks-long process that includes a public-comment period and hearings.

China hits retaliation button, launching tariffs as trade war with US starts

The Trump administration on July 6 imposed 25 per cent duties on US$34 billion in Chinese imports, the first time the president has implemented tariffs directly on Beijing after threatening to do so for months. China immediately retaliated with duties on the same value of US goods, including soybeans and cars.

The US is already considering levying duties on a further US$16 billion in Chinese goods, after a public hearing later this month. China has vowed to retaliate dollar-for-dollar to any further US tariffs.

The new list would mark the latest escalation of the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Financial markets have so far shrugged off the first round of tariffs, which were long-telegraphed, with US stocks up since Friday.

The press offices for the US Trade Representative’s office and White House didn’t immediately comment.

US to slap new tariffs worth US$34 billion on China

The International Monetary Fund has warned that a full-blown trade war could undermine the broadest global upswing in years.

Trump last month asked the US Trade Representative’s office to identify US$200 billion of Chinese goods that could be hit with 10 per cent tariffs. Since then, the president has said his administration could impose duties on virtually all Chinese imports into the US.

Industry would be given time to comment on any new levies before they take effect.

Trump has been considering tariffs against China since his officials concluded in March that Beijing violates US intellectual-property rights, such as by forcing American firms to hand over technology.