The Trump Administration on Tuesday took another step forward in a growing trade battle with China, releasing a final list of almost $16 billion in imports which will be hit with 25 percent import tariffs, carrying out President Donald Trump’s pledge to confront China over unfair trade practices, as the President has threatened such tariffs on over $200 billion in Chinese products.
“Customs and Border Protection will begin to collect the additional duties on the Chinese imports on August 23,” the office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced.
The list of 279 different import items is extensive in nature, covering everything from lubricating oils to chlorinated synthetic rubber, to sawing machines, fertilizer distributors, railroad axles, multimeters and more.
The Chinese government has vowed to match the U.S. tariffs dollar for dollar, as President Trump has made clear he will not back down in his effort to force changes by Beijing.
Unlike tariffs that Mr. Trump placed on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico, and Europe, there is clearly more support in the Congress for trade action against China – even though it may cause economic collateral damage back in the United States.
“China steals and uses American trade secrets on a regular basis,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “The only way to get China to drop its barriers is to retaliate against them until they do.”
But the latest round of tariffs by the Trump Administration again brought concern from farm groups in the United States, which have been especially vocal in their opposition to new tariffs, worried that agricultural products will be caught in the crossfire, damaging foreign market access for years to come.
“We need a change in course on tariffs before they cause any more damage in Minnesota and across rural America,” said Kristin Duncanson, a farmer from Mapleton, Minnesota, as the group Farmers for Free Trade has tried to rally the industry against the President’s tariffs.
“Trump’s tariffs are putting the livelihood of thousands of hardworking farmers across the heartland at risk,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL).
But the President sees this issue much differently.
“When we make a car and we send it to China, they charge us a 25 percent tax,” the President said at a rally last Saturday in Ohio. “When they make a car and send it to us, we charge them essentially nothing.”
“And we’re standing up to China,” Mr. Trump added. “We’re standing up because it’s just been unfair.”