WASHINGTON - According to Bloomberg, the Trump Administration is considering more than doubling proposed Chinese tariffs.
Earlier in July, President Trump threatened 10 percent tariffs on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese exports to the U.S. Bloomberg reported that Trump is expected to increase tariffs to 25 percent.
The move is thought to be a negotiating tactic with the Chinese government - aimed at gaining the upper hand in the trade war. Bloomberg's correspondent, an anonymous White House staff member, said Trump doesn't wish to fundamentally change U.S. economic policy.
Beijing has already reacted angrily and has accused Trump of "blackmail". It has threatened to retaliate.
The list of $200 billion worth of Chinese products, running around 200 pages, includes industrial goods and chemicals, consumer products, and wood products.
If Trump follows through, just under 50 percent of all Chinese imports would be subjected to tariffs.
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.
Wood pulp products and paper products are also on the list.
The proposed tariffs would be on top of 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration has assessed on $50 billion of Chinese goods: $34 billion of which took effect July 6. China then fired back with tariffs of the same amount.
Because China imported just $130 billion worth of products from the U.S. last year, it cannot fire back with matching tariffs again. If China wishes to retaliate, experts say it must do so with different measures.
U.S. companies in China have already 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.
U.S. trade representative Robert Lightizer said the U.S. expects China to stop unfair practices and open its markets to competition.
The wood industry news channel Fordaq cites a report by the International Tropical Timber Organization Trade of wood products between China and the U.S. already trending downward. Late last year the U.S. slapped China's plywood industry with countervailing duties after a Commerce Department analysis showed the engineered panels were being sold at its cost below cost of manufacture.
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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