Just the Facts

Five Facts on President Trump’s Plan to Impose Tariffs on $200 Billion Worth of Chinese Goods

By Emma Petasis
September 17, 2018 | Blog

In early August, President Trump announced he was considering tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. This past weekend, it was reported that the president was on the verge of following through with the proposed tariffs in an attempt to ratchet up the pressure on Beijing as the U.S. and China continue trade negotiations.  Here are five facts on President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration was on the verge of announcing tariffs on as much as $200 billion in Chinese goods

President Trump first instituted tariffs on Chinese products in January 2018, 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.  In August, President Trump first announced that he was considering tariffs on the $200 billion worth of goods at rates ranging from 10% to 25%. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Trump has decided to keep the tariffs around 10%.

American manufacturers have had mixed reactions to the proposed tariffs

Several American companies, such as Whirlpool, Apple, and Fitbit have protested some of the proposed tariffs, arguing that they will make their products more expensive to American consumers. For example, Whirlpool has stated that many of the parts it uses to make dishwashers at its plant in Ohio come from China and that tariffs will adversely affect its business in the states.  However, Whirlpool has also supported plans to tax the import of finished products, such as dishwashers and washing machines, as these would give American companies a price advantage over imported devices.

The expected announcement of the new tariffs will come shortly before high-level talks between the U.S. and China, which are scheduled for later this month

Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration had proposed a new round of talks with officials in Beijing in order to further discuss the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries. It is reported that the White House hopes the renewed threat of these tariffs will give the U.S. leverage in the talks, but others are concerned that it could further escalate the dispute and derail the sensitive negotiations.

China has pledged to impose tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products if the U.S. follows through with its plans

When the $200 billion tariff plan was originally announced in early August, the Chinese government stated that it would imposed tariffs of 25%, 20%, 10% and 5% on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods. The tariffs would affect 5,207 products such as meat, coffee, leather products, and auto parts.  If these levies are imposed, China will have placed duties on more than 80% of all U.S. exports to the country.

The president has faced bipartisan opposition to his use of tariffs

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. Sen. 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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