White House escalates China trade dispute to secure early breakthrough: John Kemp

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US President Donald Trump is now considering a 25 percent tariff on up to $200 billion (€171 billion) worth of Chinese imports, according to media reports in the US. Container imports at the Port of Oakland reached all-time highs in June. The U.S.is open to renewing formal negotiations with China, though Beijing must agree to open its markets to more competition and stop retaliating against U.S. trade measures, according to two senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.

"This week, the President has directed that I consider increasing the proposed level of the additional duty from 10 percent to 25 percent", Lighthizer said in a statement.

Trump has accused China of stealing US intellectual property, manipulating its own currency and taking other steps that give its firms an unfair competitive advantage over USA companies.

In early July, the U.S. imposed 25 per cent tariffs on an initial $34 billion of Chinese goods.

"The president is going to continue to hold China responsible for their unfair trade practices", said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

But the move drew swift condemnation from US business lobby groups anxious that tit-for-tat tariffs would start to hamper economic growth. After the earlier tariffs $34 billion of US goods, about $120 billion is available for retaliation.

"Each tariff escalation leads to further retaliatory action from China - ultimately inflicting even more harm on American businesses, workers, farmers, ranchers, and consumers".

The administration said Wednesday that Trump has sought to ratchet up pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 percent tariff on $200 billion (152.33 billion pounds) worth of Chinese imports, Reuters said.

Supply chains preparing for 10% tariffs on their imported goods from China will now have to create contingency plans for more than double that amount.

The USTR said it will extend a public comment period for the $200 billion list to September 5 from August 30 due to the possible tariff rate rise. "25 percent on $200 billion, if it comes to pass, is $50 billion a year", Ross said of the proposed hike in tariffs in an interview with Fox Business News, adding that the impact would not "be cataclysmic".

China's new threat targeting a smaller amount of US goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.

"U.S. pressure and blackmail won't have an effect".

China's Commerce Ministry said in a seperate statement Beijing's new set of proposed import tariffs on U.S. goods were rational and restrained.

Morgan Stanley analysts estimate an 81-basis-point impact on global growth in a scenario of 25 percent tariff hikes across all imports from China and Europe, with USA growth slowing by 1 percentage point and China's by 1.5 points. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news. But billions of dollars in tariffs have already been imposed on imports and exports between the two countries.