White House proposed increasing tariffs on $200B in Chinese imports

A Buddhist monk votes at a polling station during a general election in Phnom Penh Cambodia July 2018

The ministerial talks provided a useful occasion to inform the EU's trade partners about the results of last week's meeting between Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, according to a commission official.

The 25 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports would come on top of the existing penalties on $34 billion worth of products and an additional $16 billion that are scheduled to go into effect soon, The New York Times reported.

The process for enacting tariffs on the $200 billion in goods, which includes fish sticks, baseball gloves, handbags, spark plugs, yarn and hundreds of other products, is just getting started, with hearings set for later this month.

The USTR said it will extend a public comment period for the US$200 billion list to Sept 5 from Aug 30 due to the possible tariff rate rise.

The source said President Donald Trump's administration could announce the tougher proposal as early as Wednesday in Washington.

In fact, the rate of growth in the first half well exceeded the 3.6 percent increase in imports of copper in the first half of 2017, showing that not only is China importing more of the industrial metal, it's doing so at a faster pace.

The asymmetric economic and financial performance of the United States and China has convinced the White House it has "escalation dominance" and should press home its advantage.

In response to the reports, the Chinese government warned of retaliation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that US pressure on trade won't work, and that Beijing has always upheld using dialogue to resolve trade issues.

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So far, the trade war appears to have hit China's economy and financial markets harder than the United States, which has given the administration confidence that it is escalating from a position of strength.

China's coal demand for power generation has been rising and domestic output gains haven't been able to keep pace, meaning a draw on the seaborne market, which is already supply constrained, with major exporters Australia and Indonesia unable to boost output.

It was not immediately clear Tuesday why Trump is now looking at raising the proposed tariffs to 25 percent, but White House officials say trade talks with China have largely stalled. "The U.S. unilaterally exerting pressure on China will get the opposite of what it wants", he said.

In early July, the USA imposed 25 per cent tariffs on an initial $34 billion of Chinese goods. Because China imports far less from the US than the USA imports from China, it can't keep up tit-for-tat tariffs.

Washington is preparing to also impose tariffs on an extra $16 billion of goods in coming weeks, and Trump has warned he may ultimately put them on over half a trillion dollars of goods - roughly the total amount of USA imports from China a year ago. After the earlier tariffs $34 billion of USA goods, about $120 billion is available for retaliation.

In addition, the U.S. claims that China is stealing intellectual property despite the practice having been tolerated since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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

The Trump administration threatened to raise proposed tariffs on Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, escalating USA trade tensions with Beijing.

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