Trade war widens as Trump slaps tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump said on Monday he will impose 10 percent US tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, but he spared smart watches from Apple and Fitbit Inc and other consumer products, such as bicycle helmets and baby car seats.
Trump, in a statement announcing the new round of tariffs, warned that if China takes retaliatory action against US farmers or industries, “we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.”
The iPhone was not among the ‘wide range’ of products that Apple told regulators would be hit by the $200 billion round of tariffs in a September 5 comment letter to trade officials.
But if the Trump administration enacts a further $267 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 percent by the end of 2018, allowing U.S. companies some time to adjust their supply chains to alternate countries, a senior administration official said.
So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on $50 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. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week invited top Chinese officials to a new round of talks, but thus far nothing has been scheduled.
A senior Trump administration official told reporters that the United States was open to further talks with Beijing, but offered no immediate details on when any new meetings may occur.
“This is not an effort to constrain China, but this is an effort to work with China and say, ‘It’s time you address these unfair trade practices that we’ve identified that others have identified and that have harmed the entire trading system,’” the official said.
China has vowed to retaliate further against any new US tariffs, with state-run media arguing for an aggressive “counterattack.”