US President Donald Trump has announced an extension of his trade war with China in the form of a new set of tariffs covering roughly $200 billion in imports, to go into effect next week at 10 percent rising to 25 percent in January 2019.
US President Donald Trump's opening salvo in an ongoing trade war with China began in March this year with a trade memo which covered around $60 billion in imports. In a memorandum announcing the move, Trump claimed that the country 'conducts and supports unauthorised intrusions into, and theft from, the computer networks of U.S. companies [which] provide the Chinese government with unauthorised access to intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business information, including technical data, negotiating positions, and sensitive and proprietary internal business communications, and they also support China’s strategic development goals, including its science and technology advancement, military modernisation, and economic development,' among other claimed offences.
While China indicated a desire to 'sit down and talk calmly' about the plan, it appears said talks have not gone well: Trump has issued another memorandum which not only retains the extant $60 billion tariff coverage but extends it to a further $200 billion of imports - despite concerns from technology companies in the US that the tariffs will have a serious impact, with the majority of components and assembly taking place overseas rather than in the US.
'Today, following seven weeks of public notice, hearings, and extensive opportunities for comment, I directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to proceed with placing additional tariffs on roughly $200 billion of imports from China,' the memo reads. 'The tariffs will take effect on September 24, 2018, and be set at a level of 10 percent until the end of the year. On January 1, the tariffs will rise to 25 percent. Further, if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.
'As President, it is my duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself. My Administration will not remain idle when those interests are under attack. China has had many opportunities to fully address our concerns. Once again, I urge China's leaders to take swift action to end their country’s unfair trade practices. Hopefully, this trade situation will be resolved, in the end, by myself and President Xi of China, for whom I have great respect and affection.'
The Chinese government has yet to issue official comment on the move, but is expected to extend its own tariff programme against US imports - an extension which puts it at a disadvantage, being responsible for exporting far more to the US than it imports.