Trump Imposes $50 Billion Tariffs On Chinese Goods, Trade War Looming

The tariffs will cover 1,102 Chinese product lines worth about 50 billion dollars a year.

He accused Beijing of "aggressively working to undermine America's high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies like "Made in China 2025, '" referring to a 2015 policy to upgrade China " s industry broadly, with an emphasis on high-tech including pharmaceuticals, and to expend China's influence globally.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer described the tariffs Friday as a "defensive" action.

China had earlier offered to increase purchases of USA goods to help defuse the crisis, but Geng said all such proposals would be off the table if Washington went ahead with tariffs.

The Trump administration said on Friday that the USA would impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products, provoking a direct retaliation from Beijing and escalating a what is now definitely a "trade war" between the world's two largest economies.

In response to Trump's decision, the Chinese government said it would levy tariffs against US products and services. These products will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, after which USTR will issue a final determination.

In a statement Friday, Mr Trump pledged additional tariffs if China follows through on the retaliation threats.

The Commerce Ministry said: "China does not want a trade war".

USA tariffs placed on soybeans could cost farmers in Iowa up to $624 million, the Des Moines Register warned readers Saturday. The US now dominates those industries, but the Chinese government support has made it hard for US companies to compete.

Mike Pompeo meets Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing
Mike Pompeo meets Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing

Earlier this year, the Trump administration put new tariffs on imported washing machines.

Yesterday, China said it would not honor its pledge to increase purchases of USA goods if tariffs were imposed.

In Beijing on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeated earlier warnings that all trade talks between China and the USA would be void if Washington imposed trade sanctions.

"The United States has kept changing its mind and now launched a trade war", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

A ministry statement gave no details, but a $50 billion list of possible targets announced in April included soybeans, light aircraft, orange juice, whiskey and beef.

Administration officials have signalled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans.

The president has co-ordinated closely with China on efforts to get Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear arsenal, but he signalled that whatever the implications, "I have to do what I have to do" to address the trade imbalance.

US Customs and Border Protection will begin collecting tariffs on an initial tranche of 818 product categories valued at $34 billion on July 6, the US Trade Representative's office said. -China trade war fears and dragging down stocks markets as well as soybean prices Friday.

"Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time".

  • Tracy Klein