Saturday, 20 October, 2018

First round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods to hit $50B - USTR

The White House reportedly had a private meeting with tech industry representatives last week.                  Daniel Terdiman  CNET The White House reportedly had a private meeting with tech industry representatives last week. Daniel Terdiman CNET
Elsie Buchanan | 10 August, 2018, 06:32

The new list covers products such as semiconductors, electronics, plastics, and railway equipment.

The Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled a list of roughly $16 billion worth of imports from China that will be hit with 25% tariffs.

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.

United States industries and farmers have been caught in the crossfire, and the Trump administration announced $12 billion in aid to help farmers hurt by Chinese duties on crops such as soybeans.

On July 6, the US began taxing the 818 goods, worth $34 billion, remaining from the April list.

The total could increase soon.

Trump has also threatened to raise those 10 percent tariffs to 25 percent. Those duties could be in place after a comment period ends on 6 September.

US President Donald Trump has boasted that trade wars are "easy to win" and warned he would hit virtually all Chinese imports if Beijing does not back down and take steps to reduce its $335 billion surplus with the US.

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Still, there's little sign the trade threat is hurting shipments just yet.

Yet official figures appear to show that the increasingly fierce dispute has not applied the brakes to Chinese exports, with the latest data revealing growth of 12.2 per cent in July.

Apples are the seventh largest export to China.

USTR said there were 279 new goods to be targeted in the latest round of tariffs. While there's no major risk of the world lapsing into "damaging stagflation", the possibility remains of a "bigger blow-up" that sharply reduces trade, as in the 1930s, it said. And Chinese regulators last month barred Qualcomm, a USA telecom leader, from completing its $44 billion acquisition of Netherlands-based NXP, which would have made it a more formidable competitor for Chinese companies.

"We'll know China is really feeling the pressure when they start stirring nationalist sentiment or calling for boycotts against USA", said Bruce Andrews, managing director of Rock Creek Global Advisors.

A huge headwind on the country's economic growth is the Trump administration's trade policy, said Boudreaux, warning that if it continues "as it's happening now, not only will it slow the economic growth, it might actually reverse it". Beijing can't match that dollar-for-dollar because it imports significantly fewer American products than the United States does from China.

China has, in recent years, become a key export market for growing USA energy exports. But within days, Trump himself backed away from the deal, saying talks would "probably have to use a different structure".

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