Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

U.S. may slap China with higher tariffs, Beijing vows to retaliate

U.S. may slap China with higher tariffs, Beijing vows to retaliate

The U.S.is now imposing $34 billion in Chinese goods, and has another $16 billion planned shortly.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday local time that the increase in duties was ordered by President Trump and could be implemented as early as next month. The change isn't final yet and may not go forward after a public review, the people said.

Officials say there will be a comment period for businesses and people affected by the tariffs.

President Trump and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed last week to put their tariffs on hold while the two sides negotiate, including on the dispute over steel tariffs, which gives the USA more leverage to pressure China.

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China responded with tariffs on USA goods, mainly farm exports. China responded by implementing its own penalties on US goods.

US trade representatives are trying to re-engage China in trade talks to de-escalate tensions between the two countries. -China Business Council, said a 10 percent tariff on these products is already problematic, but more than doubling that to 25 percent would be much worse.

Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said a 25 percent tariff rate was more likely to shut out Chinese products and shift American supply chains to other countries, while a 10 percent duty could be offset by government subsidies and weakness in China's yuan currency.

Trump has ultimately threatened tariffs on over $500 billion in Chinese goods, covering virtually all USA imports from China.

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Representatives of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He have been speaking privately as they seek to restart negotiations, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. "If the United States takes further escalatory steps, China will inevitably take countermeasures and we will resolutely protect our legitimate right", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a press conference Wednesday.

Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global growth, and prominent U.S. business groups have condemned Trump's aggressive tariffs. "The cost increases will be passed on to customers, so it will affect most Americans' pocketbooks".

Trump has threatened to escalate the conflict even more by taxing virtually all of the $500 billion worth of goods China ships annually to the United States.

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