August 5, 2019

U.S. President Threatens New 10 Percent Tariffs On Chinese Products

The trade conflict between the United States and China escalated over 10 days.

Last week, President Donald Trump threatened to impose 10 percent tariffs on September 1 on all remaining Chinese products (about $300 billion in imports) he has yet to target. After the Chinese government responded to the president’s announcement by devaluing the yuan, the U.S. Department of the Treasury took the extraordinary action of labeling China a currency manipulator. The last time the United States used this designation for another country was 1994.

Connecting the Dots will have a deeper analysis of the U.S.’s move in next week’s edition.

Meanwhile, as Business Insider explains, the potential penalties announced last week by President Trump are expected to hit consumers goods like toys and smartphones and:

  • Iron and steel and products including rods, bars, wires, tools, knives, and razor blades;
  • Aluminum bars, rods, wires, tubes, pipes, foil, kitchenware; and
  • Copper alloy for table, kitchen, household articles and parts; pot scourers, scouring and polishing pads, gloves.

Argus Media said the round also includes additional non-ferrous metals that were excluded from previous rounds of tariffs that already have been implemented or announced. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the scope of the final list of new tariffs still has not yet been announced, but NAM said is likely to resemble the list found here.

Last Friday then, the president argued he could go even further. He said, “China has to do a lot of things to turn it around … Frankly if they don’t do it I could always increase [tariffs] very substantially.”

President Trump’s abrupt announcement came after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were in China last week for a round of trade negotiations that seemed to go well. In official statements at the conclusion of the two-day meeting, the U.S. government called the talks “constructive” while the Chinese government portrayed talks as “frank, efficient [and] in-depth.” Despite the tariff threat, the White House said negotiations regarding a trade deal will continue in September.

The Chinese government said if President Trump moves forward with the new threatened tariffs, the country will have no choice but to respond. While Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not elaborate on what the measures would be, she said, “China won’t accept any maximum pressure, threat, or blackmailing, and won’t compromise at all on major principle matters.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, meanwhile, signaled the new penalties might never come to pass. In a television interview he said, “A lot of good things can happen in a month.”

Reuters has compiled an overview of all U.S.-China tariffs that have been implemented, or are being considered, along with U.S. tariffs on products from other parts of the globe. Click here to read that summary.

In related news: the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced last week that it will keep anti-dumping duties on imports of hot-rolled carbon steel flat product from six countries – China, India, Ukraine, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand – as well as countervailing duties against the latter three. Click here to read the ITC’s statement.