Trade war grows as US threatens $200 billion in new tariffs on China

Following through on President Donald Trump’s vow to further retaliate against China for any retaliatory duties levied on American exports, the Trump Administration on Tuesday gave official notice for another $200 billion in tariffs on goods imported into the U.S. from China, which could take effect after Labor Day, unless China agrees to U.S. demands to reduce its own trade barriers.

“For over a year, the Trump Administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in announcing the new tariff plan against Beijing.

Lighthizer’s office released a 205 page detailed rundown of the proposed tariffs, which would target over 6,000 different products exported to the U.S. from China.

President Trump had said if Beijing retaliated against $34 billion in U.S. tariffs levied last Friday – which the Chinese immediately did – then the White House would institute a new round of trade sanctions, threatening to impose as much as over half a trillion dollars in new import duties.

“Unfortunately, China has not changed its behavior – behavior that puts the future of the U.S. economy at risk,” Lighthizer added in a statement.

The targeted Chinese products includes just about everything one could imagine, from shark fins and frozen catfish, to peas, spinach and bamboo shoots, to iron, nickel, zinc and talc, paints, chemical fertilizers, and much, much more.

The list of products – which ran for 194 pages – ended with proposed tariffs on “Antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years.”

The move came as BMW – which makes SUV’s in South Carolina for export to China and other countries – announced it would both move production to China to avoid tariffs, and raise prices of vehicles it sells outside the United States, because of the U.S.-China trade spat.

The BMW move was similar to one undertaken by Harley-Davidson, which elected to move motorcycle production out of the U.S. in order to avoid tariffs on American-made products being imported into Europe; that drew repeated rebukes from President Trump.

China wasn’t the only target on trade on Tuesday for the White House, as President Trump arrived at the NATO summit in Belgium on the attack against European Union trade measures as well.

“We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union,” the President told reporters just before boarding Air Force One for his flight.

In Congress, there were more warnings from lawmakers that the President was pursuing a plan which would cause widespread collateral damage to a variety of American export businesses.

“Although I have supported the administration’s targeted efforts to combat China’s technology transfer regime, tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

With no trade talks ongoing, one GOP lawmaker said it was time for Presidents Trump and Xi to meet face to face, in order to settle this dispute.

“With this announcement, it’s clear the escalating trade dispute with China will go one of two ways – a long, multi-year trade war between the two largest economies in the world that engulfs more and more of the globe, or a deliberate decision by President Trump and President XI to meet and begin crafting an agreement that levels the playing field between China and the U.S. for local farmers, workers and businesses,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).

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