Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Trump says ready to up China tariff list to US$517 billion

Alvis Upitis  Newscom Alvis Upitis Newscom
Kelvin Reese | 08 September, 2018, 10:47

It would also be in addition to tariffs his administration has already imposed on $50 billion in Chinese imports, for which Beijing has retaliated with an equal amount of import taxes on USA goods. "And I hate to say this, but behind that is another US$267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want". US officials say that violates China's free-trade commitments and worry it might erode American industrial leadership.

Members of the public had until Thursday to comment on the administration's plan to slap tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods, ranging from bicycles and baseball gloves to digital cameras, paving the way for Trump to announce the tariffs as early as Friday.

Bloomberg News reported Friday that administration officials are discussing using an executive order that authorizes USA officials to impose the sanctions on those taking part in "malicious cyber-enabled activities".

Trump has already imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US50 billion worth of Chinese goods, mostly industrial machinery and intermediate electronics parts, including semiconductors.

Apple Inc. noted in a letter that the government's proposed tariffs on $200 billion cover a wide range of products used in its U.S. operations, including the Apple Watch.

Cell phones are the biggest US import from China, and so far they've been spared.

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The administration will act on the $200 billion "very soon depending on what happens", Trump told reporters on Air Force One. The U.S. Trade Representative's office received almost 6,000 comments during the public comment period on the proposed levies, which ended Thursday night. Comparatively few applauded the tariffs.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One on September 7, 2018.

In short, the White House is mulling slapping tariffs on $200bn of Chinese kit imported into the States - and the Command-in-Chief is suggesting ballooning that figure to $467bn. "These are taxes and they're going to find their way into the pocket book of folks around the country", French said.

White House Economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC that talks between the US and China were ongoing. And China has vowed to hit $60bn in U.S. products in retaliation.

The United States has demanded that China better protect American intellectual property, cut its USA trade surplus, allow US companies greater access to its markets and roll back its high-technology industrial subsidy programs. Those talks will continue to go on.

In a letter to United States officials as part of the public consultation on the measures, the company said some of Apple's Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies. "However, hope springs eternal".

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