U.S. TO IMPOSE TARIFFS ON US$60B OF CHINESE IMPORTS
US may broaden list to 100 products and restrict investments
UNITED States President Donald Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to US$60 billion (RM234.15 billion) of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, said people who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration on Tuesday.
Another source said the tariffs, associated with a “Section 301” intellectual property investigation, under the 1974 US Trade Act begun in August last year, could come “in the near future”.
While the tariffs would be chiefly targeted at information technology, consumer electronics and telecoms, they could be much broader and the list could eventually run to 100 products, said the person.
Trump is targeting Chinese high technology companies to punish China for its investment policies that force US companies to give up their technology secrets in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country.
The Trump administration is also considering imposing investment restrictions on Chinese companies over and above the heightened national security restrictions, but details on these were not immediately known.
But lobbyists in Washington expressed concern that Trump’s ambitious tariff plan would also include other labour-intensive consumer goods sectors such as apparel, footwear and toys.
Higher tariffs on these products would “hurt American families”, said Hun Quach, a trade lobbyist for the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “We’re not talking about fancy cashmere sweaters, we’re talking about cotton T-Shirts and jeans and shoes that kids wear for back-toschool.”
China currently runs a US$375 billion trade surplus with the US.
While the tariffs on steel and aluminium, announced last week by Trump, are viewed as relatively insignificant in terms of imports and exports, moves to target China directly risk a direct and harsh response from Beijing.
“If this is serious, the Chinese will retaliate. The key question is, does the US retaliate against that retaliation,” said Derek Scissors, a China trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a probusiness think tank.