Trump to hit China with $16B in tariffs on Aug. 23
President Trump will impose 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports starting Aug. 23, the United States Trade Representative announced Tuesday.
The tariffs will affect goods such as electronic parts, plastics, chemicals, batteries, and railway cars.
The new round of tariffs completes Trump’s threat to impose $50 billion of import taxes on Chinese goods. The first $34 billion-worth went into effect on July 6.
China has already slapped back at the U.S. with its own tariffs on American goods, specifically targeting products from politically sensitive areas. It is expected to respond in kind to the latest round of tariffs.
China’s responses are already having an effect, particularly in the agricultural sector. Trump announced a $12 billion plan to help flailing farmers hit by Chinese soybean tariffs. The moved elicited jeers from congressional members of his own party, who said he was pushing farmers who prefer “trade not aid” onto welfare.
Trump also faces pressure from business groups, who have come out strongly against his trade policies.
“The breadth of the trade war’s impact on American businesses is evidence of the way trade is woven deep into the fabric of our economy. Almost 98% of exporting firms in the U.S. are small businesses, and they represent about one-third of all merchandise exports. These companies rely on trade to stay competitive,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue said Monday, ahead of the latest announcement.
Trump also began waging a public war with the conservative Koch network, a bastion of Republican funding, after its affiliated groups launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign denouncing the trade policies.
Congressional Republicans worry that the escalating trade war will take the winds out of their sails as they seek to campaign on a strong economy and their tax cut law ahead of November’s elections.
The trade war between the world’s two largest economies is just one of a number of fronts where Trump is pushing to redefine trade. He imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on close U.S. allies, including Canada, Mexico, the E.U. and Japan, and has threatened to levy import taxes on automobiles, even as the list of retaliatory tariffs has continued to grow
Trump has indicated that the tariffs are meant to bring about better trade deals. The U.S. is currently in the process of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. In late July, Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said they would embark on negotiations for a new trade deal between the U.S. and the E.U., and freeze the escalating tit-for-tat tariffs.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that “Tariffs are working big time.”
Updated at 5:18 p.m.