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Trump Orders Up to $400B in Tariffs if China Does Not Change Trade Practices

US President Donald Trump speaks during the National Space Council meeting in the East Room of the White House on June 18, 2018 in Washington,DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Washington, DC

President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to identify $200 billion in Chinese products on which to levy tariffs in response to China’s retaliatory tariffs and threatened more if China refuses to change its “unfair” trade practices.

President Trump released the following statement on Monday evening:

On Friday, I announced plans for tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from China. These tariffs are being imposed to encourage China to change the unfair practices identified in the Section 301 action with respect to technology and innovation. They also serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to our trade relationship with China.

However and unfortunately, China has determined that it will raise tariffs on $50 billion worth of United States exports. China 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. 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.

Therefore, today, I directed the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent. After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced. If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods. The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable.

I have an excellent relationship with President Xi, and we will continue working together on many issues. But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.

We will continue using all available tools to create a better and fairer trading system for all Americans.

The move comes after intense negotiations between top U.S. and Chinese trade officials in both Beijing and Washington, DC. China threatened retaliatory tariffs of $50 billion this year when Trump first ordered his officials to consider an additional $50 billion. When Trump threatened another $100 billion in tariffs if China retaliated with matching tariffs, Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to relent with consideration of reduced tariffs on imports of U.S. automobiles. 

Last week, Trump met with U.S. trade officials and signed off on the $50 billion in additional tariffs on China as he recalled in Monday evening’s statement. China shot back with the matching $50 billion that it had previously threatened. However, this time, Trump is raising the stakes over the additional $100 billion he previously said he would consider, charging the U.S. Trade Representative to consider $200 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese goods, with yet another $200 billion possible if China refuses to relent.

Trump has repeatedly called on China to end unfair trade practices and theft of U.S. intellectual property. After the U.S. Commerce Department officially determined China was using Vietnam to circumvent anti-steel dumping measures, Trump suggested that the U.S. may need a “different structure” in crafting a trade deal with China.

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