After Trump Announces Tariffs, China Threatens Retaliation

Trump has announced plans to impose tariffs of up to $60 billion on various Chinese products.

Shortly after US President Donald Trump announced plans to impose up to $60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese products – considered ‘retaliatory tariffs’ in response to the theft of intellectual property in the technology sector – China has threatened retaliation of their own.

According to CNBC, “China’s commerce ministry proposed a list of 128 U.S. products as potential retaliation targets, according to a statement on its website posted Friday morning. The U.S. goods, which had an import value of $3 billion in 2017, include wine, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, steel pipes, modified ethanol, and ginseng, the ministry said. Those products could see a 15 percent duty, while a 25 percent tariff could be imposed on U.S. pork and recycled aluminium goods, according to the statement.”

While 128 products seems like a large response, the targeted products represent $3 billion out of $172 billion in US exports to China, showing that China is moving warily as they respond to Trump’s announcement.

After all, China’s leaders certainly know that they’ve gotten away with taking advantage of the US and many other Western economies, and are probably surprised it took this long for someone to really respond.

Trump’s tariff announcement was promoted as fighting back against China’s “economic aggression,” and will target high-tech products, in addition to “aeronautics, modern rail,” and “new-energy vehicles.”

The tariffs could reach a total value of $60 billion, which would still only put a dent in the US trade deficit of $375 billion with China.

The tariffs also include a 30-day period for “public comment,” which will be used by many industries to either lobby for, or against the tariffs.

By including the public comment period – which could be used by Trump to justify any softening of the policy – Trump appears to be following the same path he has taken on previous announcements, by making a big splash at the beginning and then negotiating towards a middle-ground. That’s exactly what he did with tariffs on steel and aluminum, initially announcing that they applied to everyone and then exempting numerous countries including Canada, Mexico, all nations in the European Union, and a few others.

Spencer Fernando

Photos – Twitter/YouTube