U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday that tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese imports will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time, Friday morning. The White House had set the date – July 6th – weeks ago. And, has shown no indication of backing down. So, right after midnight, Washington-time, U.S. customs agents stationed at American ports of entry will begin collecting duties of 25 percent on a wide range of Chinese goods.
CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
The list covers 818 categories: farming equipment, industrial machinery, medical devices, and some car and airplane parts. Together, they’re worth some $34 billion dollars.
Trump insists the tariffs are necessary to level the playing field. He says China’s trade surplus with the U.S. – which stood at $375 billion last year – is unsustainable, and unfair to the American worker.
He has also accused China of stealing American intellectual property and says the tariffs are in part a response to that.
Major American companies and organizations have urged the administration to reconsider. The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned that ultimately it’ll be the American worker, American businesses, and American consumers that will suffer in a trade war.
“Tariffs are simply taxes that raise prices for everyone,” he said.
An estimated 99 percent of the items being taxed are supply chain goods. Essentially, they are Chinese parts that go into a bigger product that is often made – and ultimately sold – in the U.S.
These new tariffs are on top of the ones the Trump administration slapped earlier this year on metal imports, not just from China, but from several of Washington’s trading partners in the West.
And the retaliation has begun. Mexico on Thursday introduced the second part of its tariffs package on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods, most of them agricultural products. And earlier this week, Canada slapped on its own duties on $13 billion worth of U.S. imports.
The European Union has approved a tariffs package on about $3 billion worth of U.S. goods. It’s due to go into effect this month. But Brussels is now threatening to tax more America goods, worth $300 billion, if President Trump follows through with a plan to tax European cars.
At this rate, if this conflict escalates to a full-scale trade war, it’ll likely be one that’s fought on multiple fronts.