US could slap additional tariffs on China in August
Donald Trump has said he will take action against US$16 billion in Chinese imports ‘in two weeks’
Hours after the United States and China each slapped additional 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion worth of their imports, Washington is considering launching a second round of measures on Beijing in August, US officials said on Friday.
With the world’s two largest economies launching a trade war, President Donald Trump’s administration is set to impose additional 25 per cent duties on US$16 billion in Chinese imports covering 284 products – a move that appears likely to draw further retaliation from Beijing.
The Office of the US Trade Representative plans to invoke the second tariff wave after conducting a hearing with business leaders on July 24 and receiving rebuttals for views to be presented at the hearing by July 31.
The administration could invoke the envisaged levies this month because Trump said Thursday that he will take action against the US$16 billion in Chinese imports “in two weeks”.
The new tariffs are in response to China’s alleged intellectual property and technology theft from American companies based on the administration’s Section 301 investigation into Beijing’s “unfair” trade practices.
Earlier on Friday, the Chinese Commerce Ministry condemned the new US tax on 818 products, such as cars, aircraft and industrial robots worth US$34 billion.
“The United States has ignited the largest trade war in economic history,” the ministry said. “The Chinese side, having vowed not to fire the first shot, was forced to stage counter-attacks to protect the core national interests and interests of its people.”
But in a move to further escalate tensions between the two countries, Trump said on Thursday the United States could ultimately raise tariffs on more than US$500 billion in Chinese products – nearly the total value of US imports from the country last year.
Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods if Beijing continues to retaliate and fails to respond to his demands.
“You saw with China, US$50 billion and another US$200 billion frankly is waiting,” he said at an evening rally in Montana, referring to envisaged additional 10 per cent tariffs on US$$200 billion in Chinese imports.
Aside from calls to address trade practices he deems unfair, Trump has also pushed China to rectify its massive and chronic trade imbalance with the United States.
The US goods trade deficit with China totalled US$375.23 billion last year, nearly half the US trade deficit globally, according to US Commerce Department data.
The latest data, released on Friday by the department, showed the US goods trade deficit with China expanded 18.7 per cent in May from the previous month to US$33.19 billion.