The Trump administration has deepened its trade war with China by announcing a new round of tariffs worth $US16 billion ($22 billion), a move the Chinese government has warned will trigger another round of retaliatory tariffs on US exports.
The tranche of 25 per cent tariffs – which covers 279 products including electronic parts, plastics, chemicals, batteries, tractors and railway cars – follows $US34 billion worth of tariffs announced by the US government in July.
The Office United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the tariffs in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon US time. They will take effect on August 23.
The trade representative said the tariffs were a response to an investigation, released this year, which found China’s policies on technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation were unreasonable and discriminatory, and placed an unfair burden US commerce.
The tariffs are aimed at industrial, rather than consumer, imports.
On Saturday Trump tweeted that his tariffs were “working far better than anybody anticipated” and had forced China to the negotiating table.
China’s Ministry of Commerce warned last week it was prepared to implement retaliatory tariffs on American goods if the US carried out its threat to launch a new round of tariffs.
The highest penalties on China’s new list would be imposed on honey, vegetables, mushrooms and chemicals, targeting farming and mining areas that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
The overseas edition of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper on Monday said Trump believes he is starring in a “street fighter-style deceitful drama of extortion and intimidation”.
By Matthew Knott