Inaction by the US would leave the American economy and consumers worse off over the longer run, a senior administration official told reporters at a briefing Friday.
US industry has pushed back against The Trump Administration’s use of tariffs to force changes to China’s economy, and companies from Gap Inc. to Samsonite International SA have said they are prepared to raise prices if the new tariffs bite into their business, they do have pricing power in this booming economy.
President Trump’s biggest strike in a growing trade dispute between the world’s 2 biggest economies will see a 10% duty applied to $200-M of Chinese imports Monday, which could rise to 25% in January. He has threatened duties on a further $267-B of made-in-China goods, which would hit nearly all other consumer products including mobile phones, shoes and clothes.
The latest round of duties comes on top of a 25% tariff already imposed on about $50-B in Chinese goods, which spurred counter-tariffs from Beijing.
China plans to retaliate on the US’s $200-B tariff round by imposing levies on $60-B of American goods, a soft response.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross earlier this week said the tariffs are spread over such a wide range of goods that Americans should not notice price increases.
“We were trying to do things that were least intrusive on the consumer,” Secretary Ross said on TV Tuesday. “We really went item-by-item trying to figure out what would accomplish the punitive purpose on China and yet with the least disruption in the US”
The US remains open to trade negotiations with China but there are no scheduled meetings at the moment.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has extended an invitation to resume trade talks with his Chinese counterparts. The Asian nation had said they would refuse to negotiate if The Trump Administration followed through with the $200-B tariff round.
President Trump has the leverage…
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