China announces date to match US$16b United States tariffs

Alicia Cross
August 9, 2018

Oil prices slumped Wednesday after Beijing announced it would retaliate against the Trump administration with a 25% tariff on another $16 billion worth of USA exports to China, including oil products.

The taxes were the second tranche of a planned $50 billion package that began on July 6 when the U.S. slapped duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods, provoking a dollar-for-dollar response from Beijing. The number of categories of goods subject to tariffs rose to 333 from 114 in the June draft, although the total value is unchanged.

This latest round makes good on the president's promise in June to impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion in Chinese goods.

China has vowed to retaliate with equivalent tariffs against any USA action.

The increased tariffs don't take effect until August 23, leaving time for the two sides to negotiate an alternative.

All in all, China's trade surplus with the United States shrank to $28.08 billion in July against $28.97 billion in the previous month.

The duties are part of a broader round of United States tariffs on $50bn worth of goods announced in March. Big-ticket US items that are still not on any list are crude oil and large aircraft.

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USTR is conducting a public comment period for those tariffs, which could reach 25 percent, due to end September 5.

The growth rate was the strongest in almost four years, and Trump said it was further proof his economic policies were working.

"With each successive round of tariffs, Trump continues to back China into a corner, forcing Beijing to respond in kind", said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of Perkins Coie.

"We have made the case to the [Trump] administration, in the strongest possible terms, that tariffs imposed on semiconductors imported from China will hurt America's chipmakers, not China's, and will do nothing to stop China's problematic and discriminatory trade practices", SIA's chief executive John Neuffer said.

August 3: China announces that the country will impose tariffs of various rates on another $60 billion worth of USA goods if Trump moves forward with his latest threat. That's soon enough to be used by Trump as a rallying argument, but late enough so that adverse effects will not occur before January 2019.

Administration officials believe that the $505 billion Americans spend on Chinese products each year gives them leverage over China.

The latest commentary from state media on Wednesday took a softer line after resorting to personal attacks against Trump earlier in the week, saying China could get through the storm but refrained from directly mentioning the US president.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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