An­nounce­ment on 10pc levy on items that in­clude tech and con­sumer goods may be as early as to­day

New Straits Times - - BUSINESS -

UNITED States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is likely to an­nounce new tar­iffs on about US$200 bil­lion (RM827.7 bil­lion) on Chi­nese im­ports as early as to­day, a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said on Satur­day.

The tar­iff level will prob­a­bly be about 10 per cent, the Wall Street Jour­nal said, quot­ing­sources.

This is below the 25 per cent the ad­min­is­tra­tion said it was con­sid­er­ing for this pos­si­ble round of tar­iffs.

The up­com­ing tar­iffs will be on a list of items that in­cluded US$200 bil­lion worth of In­ter­net tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts and other elec­tron­ics, printed cir­cuit boards and con­sumer goods in­clud­ing Chi­nese seafood, fur­ni­ture and light­ing prod­ucts, tires, chem­i­cals, plas­tics, bi­cy­cles and car seats for ba­bies.

It was un­clear if the ad­min­is­tra­tion will ex­empt any of the prod­ucts that were on the list, which was an­nounced in July.

On Fri­day, White House spokesman Lind­say Wal­ters said Trump “has been clear that he and his ad­min­is­tra­tion will con­tinue to take ac­tion to ad­dress China’s un­fair trade prac­tices”.

“We en­cour­age China to ad­dress the long-stand­ing con­cerns raised by the US,” she said.

Trump had al­ready di­rected aides to pro­ceed with tar­iffs, de­spite Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin’s at­tempts to restart trade talks with China.

One ob­server in the busi­ness sec­tor said the ad­min­is­tra­tion may have re­duced its planned tar­iff level af­ter hear­ing pub­lic com­ments, hop­ing com­pa­nies would not im­me­di­ately hike prices for con­sumer goods to pass along the costs.

Still, the ad­di­tional tar­iffs could com­pli­cate trade talks with China ex­pected later this month.

Trump has de­manded that China cut its US$375 bil­lion trade sur­plus with the United States, end poli­cies aimed at ac­quir­ing US tech­nolo­gies and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and roll back high-tech in­dus­trial sub­si­dies.

This week, the world’s two largest economies ap­peared to be mak­ing progress on trade. Trea­sury in­vited se­nior Chi­nese of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing vice-premier Liu He, for more talks.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has al­ready levied du­ties on US$50 bil­lion worth of Chi­nese goods fol­low­ing a study on China’s in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty prac­tices re­leased ear­lier this year.

On Septem­ber 7, Trump warned that he had fur­ther tar­iffs ready to go on US$267 bil­lion worth of Chi­nese im­ports be­yond those tar­geted this week.

If all of the tar­iffs were in­voked, to­tal im­ports from China fac­ing tar­iffs would ex­ceed the US$505 bil­lion in goods that the US im­ported from China last year.

This year, im­ports from China through July were up nearly nine per cent from the same pe­riod of last year, ac­cord­ing to US Cen­sus Bureau data.

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