The United States is moving ahead with 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese imports to go into effect on August 23.
This is a second installment of tariffs as “part of the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property,” the trade representative’s office wrote in the Tuesday release. The initial tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods went into effect at midnight the evening of July 5.
President Donald Trump announced the tariffs totaling $50 billion in April. In mid-June he instructed U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer “to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of ten percent.”
Hours before the tariffs on $34 billion went into effect, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, “…as you know we have 200 billion in abeyance and then after the 200 billion we have 300 billion in abeyance.”
China initially responded to the news that the U.S. was considering tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods with threats of equal tariffs. The retaliatory tariffs hit U.S. industries in areas of the U.S. where President Trump has received significant support.
Trump responded with a warning that the U.S. would consider tariffs on another $100 billion in Chinese goods. Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to relent in ratcheting up trade tensions, suggesting China may reduce tariffs on U.S. auto exports to China.
Trade negotiations had been progressing for months, but in mid-June President Trump acknowledged a lack of progress and China’s refusal to change “unfair” trading practices. Trump then directed Lighthizer to consider the additional tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods on top of the initial $50 billion. “The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable,” he said at the time, noting the U.S. trade deficit with China. He later suggested the U.S. could add tariffs on yet another $300 billion in Chinese imports for a total increase of tariffs on $550 in Chinese imports.