Completing the latest round of tariffs pledged against China, the US Trade Representative announced on Tuesday (after the close of course) it will impose 25% tariffs on $16 billion-worth of Chinese imports starting August 23. The new round of tariffs completes Trump's previously disclosed threat to impose $50 billion of import taxes on Chinese goods. The first $34 billion-worth went into effect on July 6th.
According to the USTR statement, customs will collect duties on 279 product lines, down from 284 items on the initial list; as Bloomberg notes, this will be the second time the U.S. slaps duties on Chinese goods in about the past month, overruling complaints by American companies that such moves will raise business costs, tax US consumers and raise prices.
On July 6, the U.S. levied 25% duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods prompting swift in-kind retaliation from Beijing.
Of course, China will immediately retaliate, having vowed before to strike back again, dollar-for-dollar, on the $16 billion tranche.
The biggest question is whether there will be a far bigger tariff in the near future: as a reminder, the USTR is currently also reviewing 10% tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese imports, and may even raise the rate to 25%. Those tariffs could be implemented after a comment period ends on Sept. 5. President Donald Trump has suggested he may tax effectively all imports of Chinese goods, which reached more than $500 billion last year.
Over the weekend, Trump boasted that he has the upper hand in the trade war, while Beijing responded through state media by saying it was ready to endure the economic fallout. Judging by the US stock market, which has risen by $1.3 trillion since Trump launched his trade war with China, which has crushed the Shanghai Composite, whose recent drop into a bear market has been duly noted by Trump, the US president is certainly ahead now, even if the market's inability, or unwillingness, to push US stocks lower has led many traders and analysts to scratch their heads.
Full statement below: