The United States has increased tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. China on Friday said it “deeply regrets” the increased tariffs and will take the “necessary countermeasures” without giving any details.
The increases are going into effect amid talks between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
On Thursday the U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators ended the first of two days of talks aimed at saving a trade deal even as President Donald Trump said the new “very heavy tariffs” on Chinese products would go ahead.
The White House said Thursday evening that “Ambassador Lightizer and Secretary Mnuchin met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China. The ambassador and secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He and agreed to continue discussions tomorrow morning at USTR.”
Talks on Friday
Liu He is leading the Chinese negotiating team for the talks, which threatened to collapse after the Trump administration accused Beijing of backtracking.
“We were getting very close to a deal, then they started to renegotiate the deal,” said Trump Thursday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
“It was their idea to come back” and resume discussion ahead of the Friday deadline for additional tariffs, the president said. Trump said he had also received “a beautiful letter” from Xi that expressed a sentiment of “let’s work together.”
Trump told reporters that he happens “to think tariffs for our country are very powerful,” in line with a view he has been expressing that such increased punitive taxes would be good for America’s economy.
Tariffs and economic growth
Some economists, however, predict such tariffs would cut in half the U.S. economic growth seen in the first quarter of this year.
Earlier officials in Beijing said they have “made all necessary preparations” if Trump followed through on the pledge to impose the new set of tariffs.
Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing Thursday that China will not bow to any pressure and warned it has the “determination and ability to defend its own interests.”
The ministry issued an earlier statement vowing to take any necessary countermeasures if the tax is implemented.
The Trump administration hopes the new tariffs will force changes in China’s trade, subsidy and intellectual property practices.
More than 170 American shoe manufacturers and retailers, including such well-known athletic shoe brands as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to exempt footwear from any further tariffs he imposes on imported goods from China.
The lobby for the shoe industry, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, told Trump in a letter that his proposed 25 percent tariff on shoes imported from China “would be catastrophic for our consumers, our companies and the American economy as a whole.” The industry imported $11.4 billion worth of shoes from China last year, although some manufacturers have been shifting production elsewhere, especially to Vietnam and Cambodia.
It said the proposed tariffs on shoes made in China could cost U.S. consumers more than $7 billion annually on top of existing levies.
“There should be no misunderstanding that U.S. consumers pay for tariffs on products that are imported,” the 173 companies said, rejecting Trump’s frequent erroneous statement that China pays the tariffs and that the money goes directly to the U.S. Treasury.
Trump has been engaged in a string of reciprocal tariff increases with China on imported goods arriving in each other’s ports as the world’s two biggest economies have tried for months — unsuccessfully so far — to negotiate a new trade pact.
After Trump imposed new 25 percent taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese products earlier this month, he also set in motion plans to impose a new round of levies on virtually all Chinese imports, another $300 billion worth of goods, including shoe imports, clothing and electronics.
The U.S. leader said that if American companies did not like the tariffs on Chinese imports, they could move their production inside the United States or to another country whose manufactured products are not taxed when they are sent to the U.S. But the footwear lobby rejected Trump’s suggestion.
“Footwear is a very capital-intensive industry, with years of planning required to make sourcing decisions, and companies cannot simply move factories to adjust to these changes,” the industry told Trump.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has published a list of products that would be covered by the expanded tariffs and set a hearing for June 17. (VOA)