Trump announces US tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports

Farmer John Duffy loads soybeans from his grain bin onto a truck before taking them to a grain elevator on June 13, 2018 in Dwight, Illinois. US soybean futures have plunged with renewed fears that China could hit US soybeans with retaliatory tariffs as Trump administration follows through with threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 15 June 2018
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Trump announces US tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports

  • Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices.
  • If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing.

WASHINGTON: Vowing to cut US trade deficits and protect the nation’s high-tech “crown jewels,” President Donald Trump said Friday he’s levying a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, instantly escalating a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
China’s government quickly responded that it would “fight back strongly” with penalties of the same scale on American goods.
Trump said he was fulfilling a campaign pledge to crack down on what he contends are China’s unfair trade practices and efforts to undermine US technology and intellectual property. During an impromptu appearance on the White House North Lawn, the president hailed his “very big tariffs” on China.
“You know we have the great brain power in Silicon Valley, and China and others steal those secrets. And we’re going to protect those secrets. Those are crown jewels for this country,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”
Asked about inciting a trade war, he said, “There is no trade war. They’ve taken so much” already.
The US tariffs will cover 1,102 Chinese product lines worth about $50 billion a year. Those include 818 products, worth $34 billion a year, remaining from a list of 1,333 the administration released in April. After receiving public comment, the US removed from the list hundreds of products, including televisions and some pharmaceuticals, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.
The government will start to collect the tariffs July 6.
The administration also is targeting an additional 284 Chinese products, which it says benefit from China’s aggressive industrial policies, worth $16 billion a year, but won’t impose those tariffs until it collects public comment. US companies that rely on the targeted imports — and can’t find substitutes — can apply for exemptions from the tariffs.
“It’s thorough. It’s moderate. It’s appropriate,” US Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer said Friday on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings With Maria.” Lighthizer added: “Our hope is that it doesn’t lead to a rash reaction from China.”
“The Chinese side doesn’t want to fight a trade war, but facing the shortsightedness of the US side, China has to fight back strongly,” the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement. “We will immediately introduce the same scale and equal taxation measures, and all economic and trade achievements reached by the two sides will be invalidated.”
The Commerce Ministry said it also is scrapping deals made with Washington in talks aimed at defusing a sprawling trade dispute.
A ministry statement gave no details of what US goods would be affected, but China announced possible targets in April including soybeans, light aircraft, orange juice, whiskey and beef.
Trump has already put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk a major trade war involving the world’s two biggest economies.
Trump’s decision comes in the aftermath of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president has coordinated closely with China on efforts to get Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. But he signaled that whatever the implications for that or other issues, “I have to do what I have to do” to address the trade imbalance.
The administration is also working on proposed Chinese investment restrictions by June 30.
The US tariffs are a response to China’s aggressive attempts to challenge US technological dominance, including outright theft of trade secrets and forcing US companies to share technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. Those tactics are “a dagger aimed at the future of the US manufacturing sector,” the senior administration official said.
Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful that they could strangle economic growth and undermine the benefits of the tax cuts Trump signed into law last year.
“Imposing tariffs places the cost of China’s unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers,” said Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce. “This is not the right approach.”
Reactions to the tariffs cut across party lines. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump is “right on target.”
“The president’s actions on China are on the money. China is our real trade enemy, and their theft of intellectual property and their refusal to let our companies compete fairly threatens millions of future American jobs,” Schumer said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Washington, said he disagreed with the action because “Americans will bear the brunt instead of China.”
AP Writers Kevin Freking and Martin Crutsinger contributed to this story.


Samsung announces folding phone with 5G — at nearly $2,000

Updated 21 February 2019
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Samsung announces folding phone with 5G — at nearly $2,000

  • The device looks similar to a conventional smartphone, but then opens like a book to reveal a display the size of a small tablet
  • Samsung is also making improvements to its flagship Galaxy S devices and plans to offer a 4G version of its folding phone
SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Wednesday unveiled a nearly $2,000 folding smartphone in a bid to top the technology of Apple Inc. and Chinese rivals and reignite consumer interest amid slumping sales.
The Galaxy Fold will go on sale on April 26 and take advantage of new and faster 5G mobile networks. The device looks similar to a conventional smartphone, but then opens like a book to reveal a display the size of a small tablet at 7.3 inches (18.5 cm).
The device “answers skeptics who said that everything that could be done has been done,” DJ Koh, chief executive of Samsung Electronics, said at an event in San Francisco. “We are here to prove them wrong.”
Samsung remains the world’s largest smartphone maker with nearly a fifth of global unit sales but underperformed a slumping market last year. Chinese rival Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. — whose Mate series of phones also command premium prices — gained market share. Other Chinese makers like Xiaomi Corp. have also been increasing prices, leaving Samsung to defend its turf against upstart rivals in addition to its longtime foe Apple.
With the foldable phone, Samsung is going on the offense on two fronts in the smartphone race: It is offering an eye-catching new feature with the big, bending screen and the first 5G connection in a premium phone, a feature analysts do not expect Apple to match until 2020.
Samsung is also making improvements to its flagship Galaxy S devices and plans to offer a 4G version of its folding phone.
It also challenges the notion of what a phone can cost, debuting at nearly twice the price of current top-of-the-line models from Apple and Samsung itself.
Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the new folding device could help Samsung stay at the top and lure consumers to upgrade devices that have looked largely the same over the past five years.
“Samsung and Apple go back and forth” to lead the premium smartphone market, Moorhead said. “I think this is Samsung’s chance to take back the innovation crown.”
And even though the $1,980 starting price is steep, some dedicated Samsung fans said they would pay it. Navneet Kumar Singh, a Samsung enthusiast from India who traveled to San Francisco to watch the launch, is ready to place his order.
“The prices of the flagship models have been a little aggressive in India,” he said, “But in the end, if you invest the money you’re getting a different experience.”
Samsung also introduced several accessories to compete against Apple, including a pair of wireless headphones called Galaxy Buds. The headphones include wireless charging, a feature that Apple has promised to put into is competing AirPods but has not yet released.
Samsung also said that its new Galaxy phones will be able to wirelessly charge its headphones and new smartwatches by setting the accessories on the back of the phone.

10 times faster
Along with the folding phone, Samsung also added new cameras and a 5G version to its Galaxy series of phones.
Verizon Communications Inc. will be the first carrier to offer service for Samsung’s 5G phones. The networks are expected to be 10 times faster than current ones, improving viewing of live news and sports events.
With the 5G versions of its flagships, the Korean electronics maker looks to have beaten Chinese rivals in the 5G race, although the device will operate only on the small number of networks launching later this year. Apple is not expected to release a 5G smartphone until late 2020.
The new networks are not available in many places yet but will roll out this year and next. Consumers who want to hold on to their phones for several years before upgrading may be tempted to buy a 5G phone now so that it will be able to take advantage of those networks later, said Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. That could sway some Apple buyers over to Samsung and other Android makers with 5G devices.
“People are going to be thinking about, am going to be able to use this a year from now? Two years from now? Three years?” he said.
Rival smartphone makers are expected to announce 5G models at next week’s Mobile World Congress, the industry’s top annual event, in Spain. Samsung said its 5G handset would be available in the early summer.
The Galaxy 10 series needs to appeal to consumers who are reluctant to upgrade for only incremental technological improvements in performance.
All of the Galaxy series of rigid phones except the 5G will be available from March 8, with the S10+ priced from $1,000, the S10 priced from $900 and the smaller S10e from $750.
The mainline S10 compares with $999 for Apple’s iPhone XS and $858 for Huawei’s premium Mate 20 Pro.