Trump may slap tariffs of up to 25% on $200bn of Chinese goods

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Trump administration may be about to slap tariffs of up to 25% on an additional 200 billion dollars (£155 billion) of Chinese goods.

The move would escalate a confrontation between the world's two biggest economies and likely affect US companies which import everything from handbags to bicycle tyres.

The US government could decide to begin taxing the imports - equal to nearly 40% of all the goods China sold the United States last year - following a public consultation period which ends on Thursday.

China said it is ready to impose retaliatory tariffs on 60 billion dollars' worth (£46 billion) of US goods if that happens.

Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said in Beijing: "China will have to take necessary counter-measures if the US side ignores the opposition of the overwhelming majority of its enterprises and adopts new tariff measures."

The US has already imposed tariffs on 50 billion dollars (£38 billion) in Chinese products. Beijing has struck back with tariffs of the same value in American goods. These US goods include soybeans and beef - a direct potshot at supporters of President Donald Trump in the US farm belt.

Mr Trump initiated the trade war to punish Beijing for what it says are China's predatory tactics to try to supplant US technological supremacy.

Those tactics, US trade officials allege, include stealing trade secrets through computer hacking and forcing US companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

In the early rounds of the hostilities, the administration targeted Chinese industrial imports to try to spare American consumers from higher import costs. But if Trump adds the 200 billion dollars in Chinese products to the target list, American consumers would likely feel the pinch directly.

China has vowed to hit 60 billion dollars in US products in retaliation.