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
0

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.


Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

Updated 45 min 27 sec ago
0

Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

FRANKFURT: Siemens said its boss Joe Kaeser met Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday to discuss a proposal by the German company to expand the Middle East nation’s power production.
The German engineering group said it was proposing a deal to add 11 gigawatt (GW) of capacity over four years, saying this would boost the country’s capacity by nearly 50 percent.
It did not give a value, but such a contract would be worth several billion euros based on previous comparable deals.
Iraq has a wide gap between electricity consumption and supply. Peak demand in the summer, when people turn on air conditioners due to high temperatures, is about 21 GW, far exceeding the 13 GW the grid is currently provides, experts say.
Kaeser said in a statement after meeting Prime Minister Al-Abadi that they had “discussed the comprehensive Siemens roadmap to build a better future for the Iraqi people.”
“In Egypt, we have done the same and successfully built up the power infrastructure in record time with the highest efficiency,” he said.
In 2015, Siemens signed an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) deal with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants to add 16.4 gigawatts of capacity to the country’s power grid, marking the group’s single biggest order.
The proposal for Iraq, first pitched in February, would include cutting Iraq’s energy losses, introducing smart grids, expanding transmission grids, upgrading existing plants and adding new capacity.
The group would also help the government secure funding from international commercial banks and export credit agencies with German government support, creating thousands of jobs in Iraq.
Siemens would donate a $60 million grant for software for Iraqi universities, it said.