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China unveils retaliatory tariffs on $60B of USA goods in latest salvo

04 August 2018

Donald Trump might be about to heat up his trade spat with Beijing.

The initial set of tariffs and reprisals led to talks between Washington and Beijing, and Trump and his administration touted a deal that they said would lead to hundreds of billions of dollars worth of additional USA exports to China.

This wave of tariffs would include a wide range of products, from dog food to furniture, bicycles to beauty products.

The public comment period on the US tariffs aimed at $US200 billion ends on August 30 after public hearings August 20-23, according to the US Trade Representative's office.

However, three separate sources told the aforementioned USA media outlets that the administration is considering raising that rate to 25 percent in the near future, and possibly as early as Wednesday.

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The White House's thoughts on increasing the proposed tariffs were first reported by Bloomberg.

"The money comes after farmers, especially soybean growers, have felt the brunt of retaliatory tariffs placed on agriculture by China and other nations that the Trump administration has penalized with tariffs on imports", NPR's Brian Naylor reported.

In an effort to soften relations, Trump directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to ease restrictions on ZTE Corp., a major Chinese telecommunications company that had been penalized for violating USA sanctions against Iran and North Korea and then lying to US investigators about its actions.

Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global economic growth, and prominent U.S. business groups, while tired of what they see as China's mercantilist trade practices, have condemned Trump's aggressive tariffs.

"The escalating trade tensions have everyone in the industry concerned", said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero in a news release, although she also attributed high volumes to strong global economies.

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"I need to stress that dialogues must be conducted on the basis of mutual respect and equality", he said.

The ministry said timing of the implementation of the new tariffs on U.S. goods would depend on the actions of the US.

China says the United States is trying to stop the rise of a competitor and it has imposed its own tariffs on USA goods.

Wang said Beijing recognizes that the USA side was trying to put pressure on China. China immediately responded with its own tariffs on U.S. goods worth $34 billion. He is also betting that the US could wield more leverage because Beijing cannot match the tariffs proposed on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Lighthizer noted that if tariffs are increased to 25 percent, they would be applied to the proposed list of products that were announced on July 10.

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A bit of quick maths reveals that works out to US$50 billion (AU$67 billion) in fees.

"American consumers and businesses are now feeling the pinch of increased costs", said Jose Castaneda, a spokesman for the council.

Saying it was "forced to act", Beijing cast the move as a response to Trump's threat on Wednesday to raise a proposed tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. He also has threatened a further round of tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

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China unveils retaliatory tariffs on $60B of USA goods in latest salvo