US tariffs on $200bn in Chinese goods take effect

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    Trump has threatened another $267bn worth of duties, which virtually covers all Chinese imports to US [Stringer/China Out via Reuters]

    A new round of tariffs between China and the United States came into effect on Monday in further escalation of the ongoing trade row between the world’s two largest economies. 

    The US tariffs will affect Chinese products including food seasonings, baseball gloves and parts for industrial machinery, while US-made chemicals, clothes and car parts will be subject to the Chinese levies.

    On September 17, US President Donald Trump said he would impose 10 percent tariffs on about $200bn worth of Chinese products, prompting retaliatory measures from Beijing.

    In a statement the following day, the Chinese finance ministry said it “had no choice but to respond with its own tariffs,” which fall at five or 10 percent and affect some 5,200 US products. 

    China also announced it was lodging a new complaint with the World Trade Organization in its tariffs battle with the US.  


    The two sides already traded tariffs on $50bn worth of goods from each country earlier this summer.

    On Thursday, in a first, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a unit of China’s defence ministry for buying fighter jets and missiles from Russia.

    Trump has warned tariffs would increase to 25 percent by January 1 unless the US and China reach a trade deal, which was expected to be reached at a meeting in Washington, DC later this month.

    But, China on Saturday scrapped its trade talks with the Trump administration, and is unlikely to hold any meeting before the mid-term elections in the US due in November.

    Tariff showdown

    Trump has said the US tariffs are designed to force a change in Chinese trade policies, which he says pose “a grave threat to the long-term health and prosperity of the United States economy”.

    In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US is “going to win” the so-called trade war.


    “We’re going to get an outcome which forces China to behave in a way that if you want to be a power – a global power – transparency, rule of law, you don’t steal intellectual property,” he said.

    Previous US administrations have accused China of stealing technology by forcing firms to reveal secrets as a condition to operate in the Chinese economy. 

    Greg Swenson, founding partner at Brigg Macadam, a mergers and acquisitions consultancy firm told Al Jazeera’s Counting the Cost programme that while tariffs might not be the best approach, the US is attempting to resolve an acknowledged issue.

    “Theft of [intellectual property] is clearly a violation of free and open market. I think there are other ways to deal with this, rather than getting into a trade war, but in this case it seems to be the only way that’s going to get anybody’s attention. I’m not sure it’s being perfectly executed […] but I think something clearly has to be done,” he said.   

    More to come?

    Trump has warned any retaliatory measures from China would force the US to “immediately pursue phase three”, which is tariffs on $267bn of additional imports.

    China’s finance ministry said it will respond accordingly if the US further increases taxes. Beijing had previously warned it would target $60bn in US goods if Trump made good on his threat to impose the new tariffs. The lower Chinese figure highlights Beijing’s inability to match the US dollar-for-dollar in a tariff war.


    On Sunday, in a bid to promote a business-friendly image, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country would cut import and export costs for foreign firms.

    “We must strive to improve the business environment and reduce costs for foreign exports by a third, lower customs fees and reduce the time needed to get customs clearance, the government said in a statement.

    The US imported about $500bn worth of products from China last year, compared with $130bn in US goods imported by the Asian country.

    View the original article:

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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