President Donald Trump is preparing to release a list of an additional $200 billion in Chinese products to be hit with tariffs, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has released a list of Chinese products, running to nearly 200 pages, that will potentially be hit with a 10 per cent import tax as early as September.
Administration officials said the tariff fight is aimed at forcing China to stop stealing American intellectual property and to abandon policies that effectively force US companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.
On Friday, the US slapped 25 percent taxes on $34 billion in Chinese imports, a lot of them are industrial goods that the Trump administration says receive subsidies or other unfair support from Beijing. The officials said they tried to target goods that would reduce the harm to USA consumers.
The Trump administration said it cracked down on China for a range of trade practices involving intellectual property and technology that cost USA companies an estimated $50 billion annually.
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Robert Holleyman, the USA official in charge of trade with Asia during former president Barack Obama's second term, described the tariffs as "tax hikes on US imports".
The goal is to bring the total amount of Chinese imports up to 40 per cent of the total imported from the Asian power, since the U.S. products hit by Beijing's retaliation represent that share of exports, an official told reporters in a conference call.
The administration will consult on the products over the summer, and make a final decision on tariffs after August 30.
"For many years, China has pursued abusive trading practices with regard to intellectual property and innovation", Mr. Lighthizer said in a statement on Tuesday.
The latest salvo is part of Mr. Trump's multifront trade war, which has seen Washington take on its rivals and allies alike in a bid to fulfill the President's promise of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States. "This new round of proposed tariffs takes the fight onto yet another level from which it is going to be hard for either side to make a graceful retreat", said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division.
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"They were the ones who started everything by hurting us", the official said.
The official said the decision was not final and that the list of Chinese goods would not become final until after the public had a chance to comment.
The move, which was expected, escalates a trade war with China.
"Unfortunately, China has not changed its behaviour - behaviour that puts the future of the USA economy at risk".
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