WASHINGTON: The United States late Tuesday announced it was starting the process to slap 10 percent tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese export goods as soon as September, escalating the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
President Donald Trump vowed to hit back on a growing list of products after China retaliated in kind for the first round of 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports that Washington imposed last week.
If he goes ahead it would mean thousands of products from fish to chemicals, metals and tires would face new taxes.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Washington did a thorough investigation to justify imposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports to compensate for the harm to the US economy caused by China’s unfair trading practices, including theft or forced transfer of American technology.
But China has rebuffed US complaints and denied any harm was done to US companies, and instead retaliated “without any international legal basis or justification,” Lighthizer said.
“As a result of China’s retaliation and failure to change its practices, the president has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports,” he said in a statement.
USTR will hold hearings in late August on the list of targeted products, and an administration official said it would take about two months to finalize, at which point Trump would decide whether to go ahead with the tariffs.
The goal is to bring the total amount of Chinese imports up to 40 percent of the total imported from the Asian power, since the US products hit by Beijing’s retaliation represent that share of exports, an official told reporters in a conference call.