Trump administration threatens China with $200 billion in additional tariffs
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump fired another shot in an ongoing trade war with China on Tuesday, as his administration released a list of $200 billion in Chinese goods subject to 10 percent tariffs.
"This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China’s harmful industrial policies," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, claiming that Chinese trade policies represent a national security threat to the United States.
China, which has denied U.S. accusations of unfair trade policies, has retaliated against previous tariffs with levies on U.S. goods, and can be expected to do so again.
The proposed tariff list that President Trump ordered last month ranges from Chinese air conditioners to leather goods.
The proposed tariffs do not go into effect immediately, but will undergo a two-month review process as officials from both countries negotiate settlements to their trade disputes.
Opposition to the proposed new tariffs came from both Republicans and Democrats, as well as American businesses that stand to be negatively impacted.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in a statement that although he "supported the administration's targeted effort to combat China's technology transfer regime," the latest move "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach."
The Senate Finance Committee chairman added that "this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China."
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said "finally" the Senate will "push back on the President's abuse" of his power to impose tariffs. Flake said in a tweet that the Senate plans to vote Wednesday on a "motion to instruct," which he called a "first step toward reasserting Congress’s constitutional role on tariffs"
The American Apparel & Footwear Association said Trump's move would negatively impact consumers in the U.S.
"The administration has shown that it is not concerned about targeting the American public with its 'Trump Tax.'" said AAFA president and CEO Rick Helfenbein in a statement. "This will result in inflationary costs throughout the supply chain, ultimately paid for by American consumers."
Retail Industry Leaders Association vice president of international trade Hun Quachsaid in a statement that, "The President has broken his promise to bring 'maximum pain on China, minimum pain on consumers,' and American families are the ones being punished. Consumers, businesses and the American jobs dependent on trade, are left in the crosshairs of an escalating global trade war."