Escalating trade war? Trump administration proposes $200 billion more in tariffs on Chinese goods


The Trump administration escalated a mounting trade war with China on Tuesday by publishing a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that it proposes to hit with an additional 10 percent tariff.

“Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. "There is no justification for such action."

The new tariff list broadens the types of goods caught up in the trade war by targeting items like seafood, minerals, chemicals, and personal care items, such as shampoo and soap. It also includes a number of consumer products such as handbags, luggage, gloves and paper.

The new U.S. move came after China retaliated in kind against tariffs that President Donald Trump imposed last week. Other Chinese-made goods slated to face the new 10 percent tariff. The list include building supplies, such as plywood and floor panels; certain wool products, cotton yarns and threads; woven cotton fabrics; and certain automobile parts, including tires.

Administration officials said they hoped the latest action would persuade China to take U.S. concerns about intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers more seriously. That is the issue that provoked Trump to start the tit-for-tat trade war with Beijing last week.

Both sides met a number of times this spring to try to head off conflict, but U.S. officials said China refused to budge on key U.S. concerns. However, Beijing did offer to increase its imports of U.S. goods in response to Trump’s desire to decrease the trade imbalance between Washington and Beijing.

No dates for future talks with China were announced during a briefing call on Tuesday about the latest action, but administration officials indicated they remain willing to engage.

China has said they will match any U.S. tariffs moves.

But Trump's aggressive tariffs have put businesses on edge and are frustrating pro-trade Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said that "although I have supported the administration’s targeted efforts to combat China’s technology transfer regime, tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach."

"We cannot turn a blind eye to China’s mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy," Hatch said in a statement.

A final decision on the tariffs will will be made sometime after Aug. 30, officials said during a call with the media on Tuesday.

China last week said Trump started “the biggest trade war in economic history” with the original round of tariffs.

"China is forced to strike back to safeguard core national interests and the interests of its people," the Commerce Ministry said in a statement to CNN last week.

Trump’s steep tariffs on products from the European Union, China, Mexico, and Canada have brought waves of retaliatory tariffs from those countries.

Many U.S. industries, especially agriculture and manufacturing, have said the moves will hurt American workers and damage the U.S. economy.

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