Trump directs USTR to recommend tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods

June 19, 2018
Editor's note. CPA believes this is a reasonable decision to protect the US economy from China's tech theft and predatory economic strategy.  It can also address downstream dumping. 

President Trump on Monday night upped the ante in his administration’s trade feud with China by ordering U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional 10 percent tariffs.

[Jack Caporal | June 19, 2018 | Inside US Trade]

The announcement was made in response to Beijing’s pledge to hit the U.S. with tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. goods after Trump last week announced the U.S. was moving forward with its own 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese goods following a Section 301 investigation into Beijing’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies.

Trump said in a statement that Beijing’s response shows that it “apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology. Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”

“This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods. This is unacceptable,” Trump said. “Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods, and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States.”

The additional 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will go into effect “after the legal process is complete” and if “China refuses to change its practices” or “insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced,” Trump said.

Read more at Inside US Trade

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  • Franklin Kirkland
    While I totally agree with the need to balance trade, preferably bilaterally to avoid destructive impacts to our nominally fair trading partners like Canada, the actions we see from Trump are devoid of a discernable integrated strategy. The tariffs so far seem more driven by personal vendettas and insider lobbying, thus are unlikely to garner broad support in Congress. (Targeting Canada and quoting a 275% duty on dairy products as if it applies to all our milk exports undermines the Administration’s tariff rationale in general.) So far it’s like the US is playing a Whack-a-Mole game where the moles hit back. It is so unfortunate to see the best opening in decades to significantly impact the trade deficit being squandered by an inept day trader, probably undermining the cause of fair and balanced reciprocal trade for decades. BTW, didn’t the trade deficit jump about 15% in 2017 and isn’t it on the way to another double-digit increase this year? So much for “promises made, promises kept.” I’m betting that without a recession, the trade deficit in 2020 will be far higher than before Trump took office despite all the dust being churned up.