USA proposes tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports

Soybean prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.
Daniel Acker  Bloomberg

"We will take firm and forceful measures", Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said of the latest round of tariffs but gave no other details of what exactly Beijing plans to do in response.

"China is forced to strike back to safeguard core national interests and the interests of its people", the Commerce Ministry said.

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.

He Weiwen, a former economic and commercial counsellor at the Chinese consulate in NY and San Francisco, said companies said at the time of Chen's visit that the USA tariffs would hurt exporters and firms may consider moving their production from China to Southeast Asian countries.

"China's export sector will therefore suffer a significant deterioration in export competitiveness to the USA compared to other emerging markets' manufacturing exporters". "There is no justification for such action".

One reason why Wall Street is anxious: The People's Republic, which bought $154 billion in USA imports past year, is quickly running out of American products to hit with tariffs.

The latest escalation in the trade dispute sent markets lower.

Last Friday, the USA imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US34 billion ($46 billion) of Chinese products, and Beijing responded by hitting the same amount of United States imports.

China, however, has explicitly excluded LNG from its list of US energy goods that may be subject to tariffs, as it seeks to fight air pollution by a massive switch from coal-fired to gas-fired residential heating.

The latest round of import taxes on Chinese goods has a two month public commentary period and the USA administration is being open about the fact that they expect China to discuss the move leading one to wonder if it will actually be imposed.

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

"Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple".

The President's tariffs are already squeezing some US firms, which have started to raise prices or lay off workers as a result.

The Mizuho expert said that omission might reflect the USA intention to attack the "Made in China 2025" program - a strategic plan to make China a leader in key global industries.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) was quick to condemn the proposal, saying it will punish American consumers.

Analysts have warned that a spiralling trade war between the world's two financial powerhouses could have a damaging impact on the global economy.

"Given China's likelihood of retaliation, it's also billions worth of new tariffs on American exporters".

The sector will "suffer a significant deterioration in export competitiveness to the United States compared to other emerging markets' manufacturing exporters, such as Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh, Mexico and Brazil". "But China's reaction to the U.S. tariffs could pose a far greater threat to the index in time".

'Tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products amounts to another multibillion-dollar tax on American businesses and families, ' trade lawyer Scott Lincicome said.

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