USA considers increasing planned tariffs on $270b in Chinese imports

Washington has already imposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34billion

Washington has already imposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34billion

President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Trade Representative to consider increasing the proposed tariffs to 25% from the planned 10%, USTR Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday.

Seeking to adjust the U.S. trade imbalance with China, Washington could more than double the pending tariffs on Chinese imports.

The United States has now proposed 25 per cent duties on a $200 billion catalogue of Chinese products, from air conditioning units and antiques to toilet paper and truffles.

China warned the US against "blackmailing and pressuring" it over trade as the Trump administration mulls trying to force officials back to the negotiating table through threats of even higher tariffs.

The Office of the US Trade Representative set a deadline for final public comments on the earlier proposed 10 percent tariffs to be filed by Aug 30, after public hearings scheduled for Aug 20 to 23.

Washington wants China to open its market more to USA products and stop harming American workers, one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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The proposed tariff increase poses big risks for both the US and global economy. If the USA takes further steps to escalate trade frictions, China will inevitably come up with countermeasures to resolutely protect its legitimate rights, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a news conference. Advisers reportedly told President Trump that China's authorities would be more likely to yield if higher tax rates were imposed.

Trump set his sights on China during the 2016 presidential campaign and has followed through during his presidency with a protectionist strategy that he says is aimed at strengthening USA companies and boosting jobs at home.

The proposed increase drew criticism from industry groups like the National Retail Federation, which said the move would ultimately hurt U.S. consumers. Global stocks took a tumble on Wednesday as news spread about United States plans for steeper tariffs.

Stock markets edged up globally on Tuesday on a report that the United States and China were seeking to resume talks to defuse the budding trade war.

German firms operating in the US and China have been hit massively by the ongoing US-China trade conflict, as tensions escalate between Washington and Beijing. The United States is far and away the most popular place for such investment, given the size and liquidity of markets for US government debt and policies that are very friendly to foreign investors other financial assets and real estate. China responded by implementing its own penalties on US goods.

The plan to more than double the tariff rate was first reported by Bloomberg News.

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