Trump set to hike tariff threat against China
2 August 2018
The Trump administration is actively considering escalating proposed tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from the initial level of 10 percent. After reports surfaced that the hike was being discussed, senior administration officials confirmed on Wednesday that Trump had asked the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to examine it.
The US has already imposed a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese products, with imposts on an additional $16 billion set to be enacted within days or weeks.
The additional tariff measures are in response to Chinese tariffs imposed in retaliation against the initial US levies. No final decision is expected until the end of this month, following public hearings scheduled for August 20–23. The measures, if enacted, will cover consumer goods and food as well as industrial components.
Reporting on the new tariff move, the Wall Street Journal said that economic advisers were justifying the hike because the Chinese currency has fallen sharply against the US dollar in recent months and is now down 6 percent from its level at the end of May.
A US official, however, denied that the increase was specifically related to the yuan devaluation, saying that China had engaged “in a whole range of things that make clear that they aren’t interested in addressing all of the issues that we have raised.” Trump is reported to have dismissed the proposed 10 percent tariff increase as “too weak.”
“Once you go down the road of using tariffs to disrupt the Chinese, you have to say 25 percent compared to 10 percent,” Derek Scissors told the WSJ. Scissors is a China specialist at the American Enterprise Institute, which advises the…