USTR releases plan for more China tariffs
The Trump administration on Tuesday began the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports, including hundreds of food items.
In a statement, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer noted that after the United States began imposing tariffs of 25 percent on approximately $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, China retaliated by imposing tariffs on $34 billion in U.S. exports to China, and threatening tariffs on another $16 billion “without any international legal basis or justification.”
Lighthizer continued, “As a result of China’s retaliation and failure to change its practices, the president has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China’s harmful industrial policies. USTR will proceed with a transparent and comprehensive public notice and comment process prior to the imposition of final tariffs, as we have for previous tariffs.”
Asked during a telephone briefing about farmers’ concern that China will retaliate with more tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, a senior administration official said that the Trump administration would listen to farmers’ complaints at a hearing that will be held in August. But the official also said that farmers are aware that China has not opened its markets fully to American farm products and that Trump’s trade initiatives would help them in the long run.
The proposed list and process for the public notice and comment period is set out in a Federal Register notice, which will be published within the next few days, but can be viewed now at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/301/2018-0026%20China%20FRN%207-10-2018_0.pdf.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, criticized the U.S. action.
In a statement, Hatch said, “Although I have supported the administration’s targeted efforts to combat China’s technology transfer regime, tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach. We cannot turn a blind eye to China’s mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy.” ❖