Import tariffs on Chinese goods into the United States worth $50 billion have been approved by President Donald Trump.
It is expected that the US Trade Representatives would make a formal announcement on the new tariffs in a day or two while a notification in the Federal Register is expected to be dame in the next few weeks.
Many are expecting a retaliatory move by China.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representatives Robert Lighthizer hed held a 90 minute meeting a day ago with the trump following which the announcement of tariffs was made. Representatives of the National Security Council also attended the meeting.
Imposition of import tariffs need to viewed as one of many tools that the US could potentially make use of to make bad actors like China accountable and to force Chinese government to the negotiating table where the U.S can sculpture a deal that would give the U.S. a more favorable balance of trade position, said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro following the announcement of the decision.
“We cannot allow the recent chaos to continue and risk further damage to our standing in the world. That is why I am calling on President Trump to fight for American jobs with a comprehensive strategy that puts American economic interests front and centre,” she said.
Confidence in Trump’s capacity to appropriately hold the trading partners accountable in bad trade relations was dented because of disorderly implementation of trade enforcement measure by the President’s Commerce Department’, DeLauro also said.
“That is why I will continue to call for a meaningful strategy to address our deep trade deficit with China that has led to outsourcing of well-paying American jobs,” she said.
“To make matters worse, President Trump rolled back sanctions on Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE after the company sold critical technology to Iran and North Korea, and lied to US security officials about it. President Trump should be focused on American jobs, not China’s,” the lawmaker said.
It is expected that the Trump administration would release the first list of Chinese goods that would apply the tariffs in a day or two with primarily targeting technologies segment where China is trying to establish itself as a leader.
The Trump administration is also reportedly close to finalizing a second list of products for tariff imposition that would be worth about $100 billion, and that list could also be opened for public hearing, according to news Reuters.
“Implementation of the tariffs, when it occurs, could take us closer to a trade war,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney. “I suspect Trump also sees these announcements as a way of pressuring China into action on trade – so more classic Art of the Deal stuff.”
Following the announcement, the Shanghai Composite Index touched its lowest point in more than one and half years.
China may not honor all of the previous agreement on trade with the U.S. if the U.S. unveils new tariffs, reiterated China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang on Friday at a regular briefing.
While mentioning that the U.S.-China economic relations are mutually beneficial, Geng warned that “if the U.S. rolls out unilateralist and protectionist measures that harm China’s interests, then we will respond immediately with necessary measures to safeguard our rights and interest.”
(Adapted from Fortune.com & MoneyControl.com)