U.S. proposes tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports

Gladys Abbott
July 12, 2018

China slammed the US threat to expand tariff hikes to imports including apples, fish sticks and French doors as a "totally unacceptable" escalation of their trade battle and vowed Wednesday to protect its "core interests".

There is a two-month period of public comment on the latest proposed list before the tariffs get imposed.

US President Donald Trump ordered his government to prepare tariffs on a further US$200bn of imports from China on Monday.

TRT World's Kevin McAleese reports from Washington DC.

It also includes consumer goods ranging from vehicle tyres, furniture, wood products, handbags and suitcases, to dog and cat food, baseball gloves, carpets, doors, bicycles, skis, golf bags, toilet paper and beauty products.

"This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China's harmful industrial policies", Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative (USTR), said.

The new list-targeted at China's key manufacturing export industries-contains over 6,000 products, including fruits, vegetables, live eels, feathers and beaver heads as well as hi-tech minerals that the US needs.

It also said that China would have to respond to the U.S. actions.

China on Wednesday said tit-for-tat tariffs will "destroy" trade between the world's top two economies, after Washington fired the next shot in a ballooning trade war, readying fresh levies on United States dollars 200 billion in Chinese goods.

Beijing on Wednesday vowed to take "countermeasures" after the announcement.

China's imports of USA goods are so small that Beijing "cannot match fresh US tariffs", said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.

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The ministry said it "solemnly protests" the latest tariff list published by Washington, calling it "totally unacceptable".

"The behavior of the U.S. is hurting China, hurting the world, and hurting itself", the ministry said in a statement, adding that it was "shocked" by USA actions.

Market drops started in Asia overnight, where all of China and Hong Kong's share indices lost more than 1%, and has spread to Europe as markets open here.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.19% to close at 21,932.21 as trade-sensitive stocks, such as vehicle manufacturers went into reverse gear.

Last week, China and the USA imposed another round of tariffs on each other, and the USA said on Tuesday that it could impose tariffs on an additional US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports. Tit-for-tat tariffs already are raising the cost of some goods, such as washing machines, while industry groups warn of potential price hikes for cars, electronics and other items.

The move drew immediate condemnation from Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, who called it "reckless" and not "targeted".

The National Association of Manufacturers also criticized the US decision, saying this latest round of tariffs could undermine the economic gains from the administration's tax and regulatory reform policies.

And now China is ready to slap tariffs on American goods like French doors.

"The Trump administration is gambling that by wielding such a big club, it will force China to back down", said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In Beijing, Li Chenggang, assistant minister at China's Commerce Ministry, said that the latest USA proposals would hurt both countries and pointed to declines in Chinese export growth and overseas investment to the United States in the first half of this year.

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