True to his word that he would act before the end of business on June 15, the administration under President Donald J. Trump announced on Friday an increase in the tariff of over $50 billion worth of imports of trade done with China.
The majority of the items on two different lists (here and here) are industrial components that would not affect the American consumer outright but will have a cumulative effect of increasing the prices of durable goods.
This is being done following years of blatant intellectual property theft and nationalizing American business sites built in China.
“We must take strong defensive actions to protect America’s leadership in technology and innovation against the unprecedented threat posed by China’s theft of our intellectual property, the forced transfer of American technology, and its cyber attacks on our computer networks,” said Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “China’s government is aggressively working to undermine America’s high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies like ‘Made in China 2025.’ Technology and innovation are America’s greatest economic assets and President Trump rightfully recognizes that if we want our country to have a prosperous future, we must take a stand now to uphold fair trade and protect American competitiveness.”
Critics of the higher tariffs will shout “trade war” from the rooftops, but it is the bald truth that for decades the American tariff on imports from many nations was effectively zero. Trump and his team are slowly, but surely changing that as most other nations have hefty tariffs on the goods of all sorts including steel, aluminum and finished consumer goods they import from the United States.
This is known as leveling the playing field.
With this announcement, the US Trade Representative’s office will now begin to set up a comment period where they will hear why specific items should be excluded from the list.
USTR recognizes that some U.S. companies may have an interest in importing items from China that are covered by the additional duties. Accordingly, USTR will soon provide an opportunity for the public to request the exclusion of particular products from the additional duties subject to this action. USTR will issue a notice in the Federal Register with details regarding this process within the next few weeks.
At least someone in the government is looking out for us.