Business Insider Edition

Trump moves forward with tariffs on about R200 billion worth of Chinese goods as the trade war ramps up

Bob Bryan , Business Insider US
 Aug 08, 2018, 08:35 PM
(Getty Images)
  • The US will impose a 25% tariff on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods starting August 23.
  • The tariff will mostly apply to industrial equipment, like tractors and chemicals.
  • The move is the latest escalation of US President Donald Trump's trade war with China.

The US will impose a 25% tariff on another $16 billion (about R200 billion) worth of Chinese goods starting August 23, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced on Tuesday.

The new set of measures are the second tranche of tariffs that US President Donald Trump originally announced in March, following tariffs imposed on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports that went into effect in early July. It represents the latest salvo in the ever-expanding trade war between the US and China.

The 279 items that will be hit with tariffs at the end of August are mostly industrial goods such as tractors, plastic tubes, and measurement equipment like speedometers.

Trump has threatened to levy a 25% tariff on an additional $200 billion (R2.6 trillion) worth of Chinese imports to the US — a move that would blow open the disagreement between the countries. China responded by promising to hit $60 billion worth of US goods coming into the country with tariffs.

The Trump administration has maintained that the tariffs are necessary to force China into changing economic behaviour it says harms the US. For instance, the major complaint is about the theft of US intellectual property by Chinese firms.

China, on the other hand, argues that the tariffs violate World Trade Organisation rules and only harm both countries. Beijing is expected to hit $16 billion worth of US goods with equal tariffs in response to Tuesday's move.

Economists warn that a prolonged trade war between China and the US could end up increasing prices for American consumers and hurting US businesses. But given the lack of talks and Trump's unclear goals, the trade war doesn't appear to be close to a resolution.

Here's a timeline of the US-China trade war so far:

  • March 1: US President Donald Trump announces tariffs on all imports of steel and aluminium, including metals from China.
  • March 22: Trump announces plans to hit $50 billion worth of Chinese goods with a 25% tariff. China announces tariffs in retaliation to the steel and aluminium duties and promises a response to the latest US announcement.
  • April 3: The US trade representative announces a list of Chinese goods subject to the tariffs. There is a mandatory 60-day comment period for industries to ask for exemptions from the tariffs.
  • April 4: China rolls out a list of more than 100 US goods worth roughly $50 billion that are subject to retaliatory tariffs.
  • May 19: After a meeting, the two countries announced the outline of a trade deal to avoid the tariffs.
  • May 29: The White House announces the tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods will move forward, with the final list of goods released June 15. The move appears to wreck the nascent trade deal.
  • June 15: Trump rolls out the final list of goods subject to new tariffs. Chinese imports worth $34 billion would be subject to the new 25% tariff as of July 6, with another $16 billion worth of imports subject to the tariff at a later date. China retaliates with an equivalent set of tariffs.
  • June 18: Trump threatens a 10% tariff on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
  • July 6:The first tranche of tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods takes effect; China responds in kind.
  • July 10: The US releases an initial list of an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be subject to a 10% tariff.
  • August 1: Washington more than doubles the value of its tariff threats against Beijing, announcing plans to increase the size of proposed duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.
  • August 3: China announces that the country will impose tariffs of various rates on another $60 billion worth of US goods if Trump moves forward with his latest threat.
  • August 7: The US announces that the second tranche of tariffs, which will hit $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, will go into effect on August 23.

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