Trump tight­ens tar­iffs on Chi­nese im­ports

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

The United States will im­pose 10 per cent tar­iffs on $US200 bil­lion worth of Chi­nese im­ports, but has spared smart watches from Ap­ple and Fitbit and other con­sumer prod­ucts such as bi­cy­cle hel­mets and baby car seats.

An­nounc­ing the new round of tar­iffs last week, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump warned if China took re­tal­ia­tory ac­tion against US farm­ers or in­dus­tries, ‘‘we will im­me­di­ately pur­sue phase three, which is tar­iffs on ap­prox­i­mately $US267 bil­lion of ad­di­tional im­ports’’.

The iPhone was not among the ‘wide range’ of prod­ucts that Ap­ple told reg­u­la­tors would be hit by the $US200 bil­lion round of tar­iffs.

But if the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion en­acts a fur­ther $US267 bil­lion round of tar­iffs, the iPhone — along with all other smart phones — are likely to be in­cluded in the list.

Col­lec­tion of tar­iffs on the long-an­tic­i­pated list will start Septem­ber 24 but the rate will in­crease to 25 per cent by the end of 2018, al­low­ing US com­pa­nies some time to ad­just their sup­ply chains to al­ter­nate coun­tries, a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said.

So far, the US has im­posed tar­iffs on $US50 bil­lion worth of Chi­nese prod­ucts to pres­sure China to make sweep­ing changes to its trade, tech­nol­ogy trans­fer and high-tech in­dus­trial sub­sidy poli­cies.

The es­ca­la­tion of Trump’s tar­iffs on China comes af­ter talks be­tween the world’s two largest economies to re­solve their trade dif­fer­ences have pro­duced no re­sults.

China has vowed to re­tal­i­ate fur­ther against any new US tar­iffs, with staterun me­dia calling for an ag­gres­sive ‘‘coun­ter­at­tack’’.

The US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s of­fice elim­i­nated about 300 prod­uct cat­e­gories from the pro­posed tar­iff list, along with some sub­sets of other cat­e­gories, but ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said the to­tal value of the re­vised list would still be about ‘‘$US200 bil­lion’’.

A broad, $US23 bil­lion cat­e­gory of in­ter­net­con­nected de­vices will re­main sub­ject to tar­iffs, but some prod­ucts — such as smart watches, Blue­tooth de­vices, and other con­sumer-fo­cused tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts — were re­moved fol­low­ing a lengthy pub­lic vet­ting pe­riod dur­ing which more than 6000 com­ments were re­ceived.

Also spared from the tar­iffs were Chi­nese in­puts for US-pro­duced chem­i­cals used in man­u­fac­tur­ing, tex­tiles and agri­cul­ture.

Con­sumer safety prod­ucts made in China, such as bi­cy­cle hel­mets sold by Vista Out­door and baby car seats and other prod­ucts from Graco Inc, also were taken off the list.

But the ad­just­ments did lit­tle to ap­pease tech­nol­ogy and re­tail groups who ar­gued the tar­iffs would hit con­sumers hard.

‘‘Tar­iffs are a tax on Amer­i­can fam­i­lies, pe­riod,’’ Re­tail In­dus­try Lead­ers As­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent for in­ter­na­tional trade Hun Quach said.

‘‘Con­sumers — not China — will bear the brunt of these tar­iffs and Amer­i­can farm­ers and ranch­ers will see the harm­ful ef­fects of re­tal­i­a­tion worsen.’’

Trade war deep­ens . . . China an­nounced last week it would take ‘‘counter-mea­sures’’ to US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to raise tar­iffs on $200 bil­lion of Chi­nese im­ports. Pic­ture: AP Photo/Stephen B. Mor­ton

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