Trump escalates trade war against China
12 July 2018
The Trump administration has stepped up its trade war against China with the announcement that US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, will begin an investigation with a view to putting a 10 percent tariff of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods by the end of August.
The latest decision comes on top of the imposition of a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese exports last Friday, with a further $16 billion expected to be hit by the same levy within weeks.
The additional tariffs, foreshadowed several weeks ago, were taken in response to China’s decision to retaliate against last Friday’s US measures by putting tariffs on the same value of US exports.
The statement issued by Lighthizer was that of an imperial overlord whose word is law, to be obeyed without question, with any opposition to be met by escalating reprisals. The US has already indicated that it is prepared to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of goods, on top of those targeted in Tuesday’s announcement, with Trump saying that as much as $500 billion could be hit—the value of all Chinese exports to the US.
Turning the situation on its head, Lighthizer said that China’s retaliation against the imposition of US tariffs last Friday was “without any international legal basis or justification.” In fact, it is the US measures, introduced under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, which contravene international trade rules.
“For over a year,” Lighthizer said, “the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition. We have been very clear and detailed regarding the specific changes that China should undertake.
“Unfortunately, China has…