US President Trump set to impose steep tariffs targeting China


PORTAGE, IN – MARCH 15: A slab of steel, 8 inches thick, is heated and rolled into a coil of steel, 1/10 to 3/4 inches thick, at the NLMK Indiana steel mill on March 15, 2018 in Portage, Indiana. The mill, which is projected to produce up to 1 million tons of steel from recycled scrap in 2018, is considered a “mini mill” by U.S standards. NLMK Indiana is a subsidiary of NLMK, one of Russia’s largest steel manufacturers, responsible for nearly a quarter of Russias steel production and producing nearly a quarter of the worlds slab steel. Steel producers in the U.S. and worldwide are preparing for the impact of the recently-proposed tariffs by the Trump administration of 25 percent on imported steel. (Scott Olson/AFP)

The White House could announce steep tariffs on imports from China as early as Thursday. They are expected to be worth as much as $60 billion a year and target a wide range of goods. The United States said the move is in response to China aggressively acquiring U.S. technology.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

At the end of 2017, U.S. President Trump ordered a review of China’s trade practices. Now he’s about to impose the biggest set of tariffs since he came into office – and they are aimed solely at China.

They could be worth up to $60 billion of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports and limits on Chinese investment (especially in technology companies), among other measures.

Those other measures could include restricting the number of Chinese students conducting research in the U.S. in cutting-edge technologies.

The tariffs on goods are thought to be focused on consumer electronics but could also include clothing, toys, furniture and many more items.

While no details have yet been officially announced, there is growing concern both domestically and across the world.

Scores of trade groups in the U.S. have sent letters to the White House with the same message: ‘Mr. President, don’t do this.’ They said it will cause the U.S. more harm than good.

One of the groups, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, put it this way – “A tariff on these products would be a tax on every American. In addition to increasing costs for American families, this action could result in retaliatory tariffs that target American businesses, resulting in job losses.”

In Beijing, officials warned against the U.S. taking emotional actions that will harm the global economy – especially as China continues to open its economy.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday that, “China does not want to fight a trade war with anyone. But if anyone forces us to fight, we will neither be scared nor hide. In the end, if the United States takes actions that harm Chinese interests, then China will have to take resolute and necessary steps to respond and protect our legitimate interests.”

Imposing steep tariffs on China would follow on the heels of the U.S. president’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

However, even before those have come into force, Trump has significantly backtracked by exempting its biggest supplier (Canada) and neighboring Mexico. He is cutting similar deals with other allies like Australia.

The U.S. could adopt a similar approach to the tariffs on China and make a big opening announcement as a way to try to extract concessions from Beijing.

For now, Beijing is adopting a wait-and-see-attitude, hinting at retaliation against U.S. agricultural and aerospace exports.

But for Washington, this isn’t just about trade but a battle for the future. The Trump administration sees China more and more as an economic competitor when it comes to the industries of tomorrow. The U.S. has already blocked multiple takeovers of semiconductor companies by Chinese firms. They appear set to oppose more.

This may not be as much about trade as it is economic warfare.

Dan McClory discusses trade tensions between US and EU, China

The White House could announce steep tariffs on imports from China as early as Thursday, according to media reports. The measures are expected to target a wide range of goods and be worth up to $60 billion per year. The United States says the move is in response to China aggressively acquiring U.S. technology, and comes after the signing of tariffs on steel and aluminum. Dan McClory, president and head of China at Boustead & Company, discusses the worsening trade tensions with CGTN’s Mike Walter.