Trump Threatens Tariffs on All Chinese Imports

The U.S.-China trade conflict "will remain in an escalatory cycle as the two sides are at a fundamental impasse," one expert says.
Matthew HellerSeptember 10, 2018

In a further escalation of his trade feud with China, President Donald Trump has threatened to, in effect, tax essentially all Chinese goods imported into the United States.

As the White House is finalizing plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese imports, Trump said more tariffs could be in the pipeline.

“The $200 billion we’re talking about could take place very soon, depending what happens with them. To a certain extent, it’s going to be up to China,” he told reporters on Air Force One .

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Trump then added, “And I hate to say that, but behind that, there’s another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want. That totally changes the equation.”

The U.S. imported $505 billion worth of goods from China in 2017. “If Trump follows through with both threats, tariffs would be imposed on $517 billion in Chinese goods coming into the U.S. — virtually everything coming from the country,” Business Insider reported.

The trade conflict with China began in March when Trump announced plans to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing retaliated by threatening to impose tariffs on U.S. goods worth roughly $50 billion.

“News that the U.S. is considering tariffs on an additional $267 billion of imports from China underscores our view that the trade conflict will remain in an escalatory cycle as the two sides are at a fundamental impasse,” Michael Zezas, Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. public policy strategist, said.

According to The Financial Times, White House officials have been grappling with how aggressive the tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports should be. A public comment period on a proposed list of products, from fish to fitness trackers, ended last week.

The options include immediately imposing a 25% tariff or the softer alternative of “a staggered rollout and possibly tariff rates as low as 10 percent on certain products,” the FT said.

“We expect officials to try to tariff consumer products at 10 percent and industrial inputs at 25 percent,” Jeffrey Wright, a U.S. analyst at the Eurasia Group, said.