Just the Facts

Five Facts on China’s Plan to Impose Tariffs on $60 Billion Worth of U.S. goods

By Emma Petasis
August 3, 2018 | Blog

On Thursday President Trump announced he was considering imposing a 25% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.  In response, the Chinese government announced that if these new taxes were to take effect, they would respond with tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods.  Here are five facts on China’s proposed tariffs.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump labeled China as a currency manipulator and stated that he would use “every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes”

President Trump began to impose major tariffs on Chinese products in January, which has resulted in a tit-for-tat series of tariffs over the course of the past several months. In early June, President Trump announced a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated that the United States “has launched the biggest trade war in economic history so far.” Beijing responded with proportional tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. imports, targeting things such as soybeans and electric vehicles. This week, President Trump announced that he was considering raising the levy on another round of proposed tariffs from 10% to 25% on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products.

On Friday, the Chinese government announced it was prepared to impose tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products

China’s Ministry of Commerce stated, “China is fully prepared and will have to retaliate to defend the nation’s dignity and the interests of the people.” Beijing’s representative continued, making clear that America’s “carrot and stick tactic won’t work.”

China’s proposed set of tariffs would affect the price of 5,207 American goods with levies ranging from 5% to 25%

The Chinese Ministry said it was “forced to act” in a trade dispute which U.S.- China trade expert, Lu Xiang, called “a tactic by Trump, but if it eventually evolves into a strategic confrontation, the result will undoubtedly be disastrous.” The U.S. Products set to be taxed include beef, natural gas, semiconductors, condoms, coffee, and helicopters.

The implementation and date on which China’s tariffs go into effect will depend on the Trump administration’s next steps

China has made it clear that the $60 billion worth of tariffs will only go into effect if the U.S. follows through on its tariff threats.  In addition, the Chinese government also reserved “the right to continue to introduce other countermeasures.” The Chinese State Council further warned, “any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties.”

President Trump’s escalation of this trade war has drawn criticism from both members of Congress and the business community

Prior to China’s announcement, President of the National Retail Federation Matthew Shay stressed that Trump “increasing the size of the tariffs is merely increasing the harm that will be done… [it’s] an unacceptable gamble with the U.S. economy.” Meanwhile, there appears to be bipartisan unease regarding the recent escalations.  The Senate recently passed a resolution by a vote of 88-11 requesting that the president get congressional approval before imposing tariffs in the name of national security. Sena Orrin Hatch (R-UT) criticized the president’s “overreliance on tariffs,” tweeting that the U.S. “cannot keep substituting additional tariffs for a targeted strategy that will actually bring China to the negotiating table.”


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