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ECONOMY

China Strikes Back With Second Tranche of Tariffs

China targeted $16 billion of American goods with new tariffs. Photo: VCG
China targeted $16 billion of American goods with new tariffs. Photo: VCG

The trade war between the world’s two largest economies rolled into a second round.

China returned fire Wednesday evening Beijing time with new tariffs on $16 billion of annual American imports shortly after the Trump administration unveiled its next round of tariffs on an equivalent amount of Chinese imports.

China's Customs Tariff Commission, under the State Council, published a list (link in Chinese) of 333 American imports that will face additional 25% tariffs starting Aug. 23.

Hours earlier, the White House unveiled a list of 276 Chinese products that account for $16 billion of annual imports, including bridge parts, engines and tractors, to face additional 25% tariffs starting Aug. 23.

China’s Ministry of Commerce earlier Wednesday called the U.S. tariff decision “unreasonable” and said China will have to take counter-measures to defend its interests.

The U.S. products to be targeted by tariffs include petrochemicals, cars, medical equipment and steel products, according to the Customs Tariff Commission.

The world’s two largest economies have been locked in a back-and-forth tariff fight. Last month, the U.S. imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports. China struck back with tariffs on similar amount of American imports.

Last week, President Donald Trump threatened to slap 25% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, up from a previously proposed 10%. The threatened new tariffs could take effect after September. China has vowed to strike back.

China exported around $505 billion of goods to the U.S. in 2017, leading to a trade deficit of nearly $376 billion, U.S. government data shows.

Analysts have warned that an ever-expanding trade war may cost the global economy hundreds of billion dollars, although the initial impact of the tariffs has so far been subdued.

China’s exports rose 12.2% in July from a year ago to $215.6 billion, following a rise of 11.2% in June and marking the fastest growth rate since February, according to data released Wednesday by the General Administration of Customs.

China’s shipments to the U.S. continued to hum along, rising 11.2% from a year earlier to $41.5 billion. But the value of exports dipped slightly from June’s $42.6 billion, the first month-on-month decline since March, customs data showed. Imports from the U.S. gained 11.1% year-on-year to $13.4 billion, down from June’s $13.7 billion.


Timeline of U.S. — China Trade War 

Feb. 16: U.S. Commerce Department recommends increased tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from countries including China.

Feb. 27: China sends Liu He, top economic adviser to President Xi Jinping, to Washington to defuse trade tensions.

March 9: President Donald Trump signs orders to slap tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on foreign-made aluminum, except goods from Canada and Mexico.

March 22: Trump announces plan to impose tariffs on Chinese imports worth as much as $60 billion annually following an investigation into China’s intellectual property practices led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

March 23: China unveils plan to impose tariffs on imports from U.S. with annual value of $3 billion.

April 3: U.S. trade representative announces a list of $50 billion of Chinese goods subject to punitive tariffs of 25% for allegedly unfair trade practices.

April 4: China vows to respond with measures of “equivalent strength and equivalent scope” and threatens new 25% tax on 106 American product lines if the U.S. tariffs are implemented.

April 5: Trump says he is considering a new round of tariffs on an additional $100 billion of Chinese imports as Beijing retaliates. The World Trade Organization receives request from China for consultations on new U.S. tariffs.

April 10: Chinese President Xi Jinping promises lower tariffs on cars, harsher punishment for intellectual property rights violators and faster financial opening-up in a speech seen as an olive branch to ease trade tensions.

April 17: China announces anti-dumping tax on grain sorghum from U.S. hours after Washington bans Chinese telecom equipment-maker ZTE Corp. from buying American components for seven years.

May 3: U.S. trade delegation including Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrives in Beijing to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on trade.

May 15-19: Liu visits Washington for further trade talks. The two countries outline a trade deal to avoid tariffs.

May 29: White House says tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods will move forward, with the final list of goods to be released June 15.

May 30: New round of negotiations takes place in Beijing led by Liu and Ross.

June 15: Trump unveils final list of $34 billion of Chinese goods subject to new 25% tariff as of July 6, with $16 billion more subject to the tariff at a later date.

June 18: Trump threatens 10% tariff on additional $200 billion of Chinese goods.

July 6: Trade war begins as first tranche of tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods takes effect. China retaliates with equivalent tariffs.

July 10: U.S. releases initial list of the additional $200 billion of Chinese goods that could be subject to a 10% tariff.

Aug. 1: Trump threatens to more than double proposed tariffs on the $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

Aug. 3: China vows to retaliate to latest Trump threat with additional tariffs on American goods worth $60 billion annually.

Aug. 7: U.S. announces second tranche of tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods will go into effect Aug. 23. China responds with equal measures.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)
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