USA proposes higher tax on $200 billion in Chinese imports

Devin Lawrence
August 4, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing raising planned taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, turning up the pressure on Beijing in a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

The Trump administration says it's looking into whether to increase the proposed tariff on 200 billion USA dollar worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

But Trump's tariffs have drawn criticism at home in the United States for driving up costs for consumers and companies that rely on Chinese imports.

"China has been fully prepared and will have to retaliate to defend national dignity and the people's interests", the Commerce Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Administration officials at the time said the tariff fight was aimed at forcing China to stop stealing American intellectual property and to abandon policies that effectively force US companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market. And U.S. auto imports are under separate threat.

Washington is preparing to also impose tariffs on an extra $16 billion of goods in coming weeks, and Trump has warned he may ultimately put them on over half a trillion dollars of goods - roughly the total amount of US imports from China past year.

In 2017, the United States had a $376 billion trade deficit with China, which it is keen to cut.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Trump directed the increase from a previously proposed 10 percent duty because China has refused to meet U.S. demands and has imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

President Donald Trump requested the US Trade Representative explore the option to hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to the US with a 25% tariff.

Donald Trump is ramping up the pressure on China.

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US business groups have expressed angst about Trump's approach, warning it could drive up costs for companies and consumers. "Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behavior, China has illegally retaliated against US workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses", Lighthizer said.

In response to the announcement, Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing was standing its ground in the trade dispute, reports CNN.

"Certainly, we would like to see the playing field leveled", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a briefing on Wednesday.

Senior administration officials expressed frustration Wednesday that China has responded to US tariffs with retaliation rather than capitulation.

"Our door for dialogue is always open".

The U.S. Trade Representative's office initially had set a deadline for final public comments on the proposed 10 percent tariffs to be filed by August 30, with public hearings scheduled for August 20-23.

The ministry said timing of the implementation of the new tariffs on United States goods would depend on the actions of the US.

Meanwhile, in corporate America, it appears that there is just one thing executives are talking about: tariffs.

Increasing the rates to 25 percent could make them significantly more painful.

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