US-China Trade War Hits $100 Billion in Goods
The world’s two largest economies have now slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on a combined $100 billion of products since early July, with more in the pipeline, adding to risks to global economic growth.
The White House has already increased charges on $34bn (£26.4bn) worth of Chinese products and is set to impose tariffs on a further $16bn (£12.4bn) of goods. From iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles and American bourbon to machinery and computer processors.
The US trade representative’s (USTR) office initiated another round of intense public consultations and will charge 25 percent import duties on an additional $16 billion in Chinese products, bringing the total to over 1,000 items valued at about $50 billion in trade a year. China has responded dollar-for-dollar on hundreds of US goods, putting the total value of affected goods at $100 billion, one-seventh of the total annual US-China trade.
Effectively, if the Trump administration goes ahead with the punitive tariffs by the end of September, almost half of all Chinese imports to the US will be impacted. During consultations with the USTR, the US Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns over escalating trade war between the US and China, and cautioned that the proposed action dramatically expands the harm to American consumers, workers, businesses and the economy.
The Trump administration says the aggressive stance is meant to pressure Beijing to change policies that allow and encourage the theft of US technology and unfairly undercut American producers. The tariffs are aimed at Chinese goods – such as aircraft parts and computer hard drives – that Washington says have benefited from unfair trade practices. China has accused the United States of starting the “largest trade war in economic history.”
Computers and electronics, and machinery are among the hardest hit, including $1.1 billion in imports of computer processors, and the same amount of electrical machines. The next biggest victim is $700 million in integrated circuits, $500 million in solar cells, and $400 million in computer memory. Also on the hit list, milking machines for dairy cows, incubators for baby chicks, flight data recorders, x-ray tubes, bulldozers and arc lamps as well as motorcycles and mopeds.
The US has also threatened the third round of tariffs on $200bn (£155bn) worth of Chinese imports, listing more than 6,000 items including food products, minerals and consumer goods. And as China has vowed to retaliate further, Trump has threatened to target all $500 billion in goods the US imports.