Today, President Trump announced an aggressive new set of tariffs against China, setting a 25 percent import tax on $50 billion worth of “industrially significant technologies” imported from China. In previous discussions, China has threatened to retaliate against such tariffs, stoking fears of a far-reaching and unpredictable trade war between the countries. US Customs and Border Protection is set to begin collecting the tariffs on July 6th.
A list published by the White House details more than 1,000 specific products that will be affected by the tariffs. It includes a broad range of components used in electronics manufacturing, specifically naming touchscreens, batteries, and electric motors. General components like transistors are also named on the list as well as more specific components used in televisions, cameras, and radio receivers. Fiber optic cables are also on the list, although most fiber optic cable is manufactured by US companies. Notably, the list does not include cellphones or completed televisions.
Today’s list is a revision of an earlier proposal that was published in April that removed 515 items and proposed an additional 284. According to the White House, the tariffs are targeted at China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, which aims to promote high-tech manufacturing within the country. “The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices,” the White House said in a statement.
In a response issued last night, China’s ministry of commerce pledged to respond with tariffs of “the same scale and the same strength.” The White House statement also pledged to implement additional tariffs if China retaliated, sparking fears of an escalating trade war that could significantly limit trade between the two countries.