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June 18, 2018

U.S. Proposes New Tariffs On Chinese Steel, Aluminum Products

In a statement released Friday, the White House said the United States government will implement a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods from China that contain industrially significant technologies. Tariffs on some products will go into effect on July 6 (the list of products affected by those tariffs is available here), while a group of other products will be subject to public comment before they go into effect. (The list of those products is available here.) Together, these two lists equal approximately $50 billion in imported products.

The second list includes products such as high-tech machinery and equipment used in electronics and plastics and lubricating oils, but it also includes:

  • Iron or steel, bridges and bridge sections;
  • Iron or steel, towers and lattice masts;
  • Iron or steel, not in part alloy steel, columns, pillars, posts, beams and girders;
  • Iron or steel, columns, pillars, posts, beams and girders, nesoi;
  • Steel, grating for structures or parts of structures;
  • Iron or steel, structures (excluding prefab structures of 9406) and parts of structures, nesoi;
  • Aluminum, stranded wire, cables and the like with steel core, not electrically insulated, not fitted with fittings and not made up into articles; and
  • Aluminum, electric conductors of stranded wire, cables and the like (other than with steel core), not electrically insulated, not fitted with fittings or articles.

In its statement, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said this second list of products, like the first, will undergo a public notice and comment process, with a public hearing, to allow company feedback. Additionally, there will be opportunities for companies to request exclusion of specific products. Details regarding both processes will be included in a forthcoming Federal Register notice that is expected to be published in coming weeks.

The related presidential statement also indicated that the United States “will pursue additional tariffs” if China retaliates. To that end: after the U.S. government announced its plans, Chinese officials said they would impose tariffs of “equal” scale and intensity.