Trump says ready to up China tariff list to US$517 billion

Anna Jefferson
September 8, 2018

The new taxes are in addition to a 25 percent levy on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with which Trump has already threatened China.

Earlier this week, Apple said in a regulatory filing that the president's proposed $200 billion in fresh tariffs on China would cover "a wide range of Apple products", from its Mac Mini computer to cables, chargers and laptop cases.

Trump tells reporters on Air Force One that his plans to slaps taxes of up to 25 percent on Chinese imports would depend on the choices made by that country's leaders.

"That totally changes the equation", Mr Trump said.

Cellphones, the biggest U.S. import from China, have so far been spared but would be engulfed if Trump activates the $267 billion tariff list.

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China so far has retaliated dollar-for-dollar with tariffs of its own on USA goods but since it imports less than $200 billion in goods a year from the United States, it has run out of room to match the punitive measures.

That said, Apple didn't give an estimate of how much the proposed tariffs would contribute to the increased costs of its products.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow just hours before said talks with Beijing were continuing to try to defuse the conflict, and that he was hopeful that a solution could be found.

Computer and phone makers are involved in a global supply chain that includes Chinese manufacturing, and that can not be easily excluded without harm to USA companies, Intel said in a letter to the trade representative.

If eventually carried out, Trump's latest threat could result in tariffs on all Chinese goods entering the United States, an unprecedented escalation of his trade war with China.

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As their attempts to head off a new and deeper round of USA tariffs on Chinese imports seem unsuccessful, industry groups in the United States are bracing themselves for a grim winter, with American consumers likely to bear the brunt of higher prices as the festive season approaches. Earlier this year, the company said that as part of tax reform it would spend $350 billion in the United States over the next five years.

"If the USA dogmatically implements any new tariff measures against China, China will have to take the necessary countermeasures", commerce spokesman Gao Feng told reporters. By 2021, based on International Monetary Fund economic forecasts, the USA would lose about 1 percent of its annual output or about $230 billion while China would lose 0.6 percent of its $18 trillion economy that year or $110 billion. US stocks erased gains after Trump's remarks.

But so far China had not met the Trump administration's requests.

Specifically, Kudlow said, the United States was seeking "zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, zero subsidies, stop the IP theft, stop the technology transfer, allow Americans to own their own companies".

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