WASHINGTON – The trade war between the U.S. and China has intensified again, as the Trump Administration announced another $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports on Monday.
“As president, it is my duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself,” President Trump said in a statement. “My administration will not remain idle when those interests are under attack.”
The new round of tariffs will begin September 24 - initially at a rate of 10 percent. On January 1, the rate will increase to 25 percent.
A total of $250 billion has now been applied to Chinese tariffs. That's around half of all of the Asian country's exports to the U.S.
China earlier threatened to retaliate with $60 billion in tariffs of their own. Bloomberg sources say China will reject any further trade talks altogether.
If China retaliates, the Trump Administration said it would impose another $267 billion in tariffs.
“For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies,” Trump said. “We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices.”
The U.S. first imposed a 25 percent duty that affected $34 billion in Chinese imports. A second round then applied tariffs of $16 billion. China answered back with extra 25 percent duties on 545 U.S. products. Then the Trump Administration suggested tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products.
Wood products facing a tariff include oak, beech, maple, ash, cherry, moldings, rods, particleboard, various types of plywood, doors, charcoal, corks and stoppers, and wicker and bamboo baskets. Furniture items include bedding, mattresses, car seats, wood chairs, furniture designed for offices, kitchens, chandeliers, and lamps.
The Administration reportedly received more than 6,000 written comments and testimony from U.S. companies and groups, including the National Hardwood Lumber Association, urging reconsideration, and saying that it could ruin their businesses. reported USA Today. As a result, 300 items were removed from the list, including child-safety furniture.
Since the summer, U.S. companies in China have reported spikes in delayed product approvals, worker visas, and licensing applications. There have also been cases of Chinese officers ordering seemingly random quarantines for certain products, and jumps in random border inspections.
Data from China’s Customs Department show the value of wood products trade between China and the U.S. fell 16 percent in March 2018. China’s imports also dropped by 5 percent, though overall first quarter showed a 9 percent increase in Chinese exports of wood products: China's imports rose 6 percent to $2.28 billion during the period, while its exports to the U.S. rose 10 percent to $3.98 billion.
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