President Donald Trump has decided to impose significant tariffs on Chinese goods, the latest leg in the ongoing tensions over trade between the two nations, according to published reports.
The Washington Post, quoting unnamed administration officials, reported that Trump is planning to announce a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese products.
Reuters reported that Trump's list of tariffs will contain 800 product categories, down from 1,300 previously. Reuters cited an unnamed administration official and an industry source familiar with the list.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin argued against imposing the tariffs at a White House meeting on Thursday but he was not expected to prevail, the official said, according to Reuters.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said his country was prepared to respond if Trump went ahead with the tariffs.
The dispute between China and the U.S. has been escalating for months. In April, China raised import duties on a $3 billion list of U.S. pork, apples and other products. The move was seen by the U.S. as an attempt raise the gambit in the ongoing dispute with Washington over trade and industrial policy.
China in recent weeks has said that its actions are simply in rebuttal to U.S. tariff hikes, such as one imposed earlier this year on steel and aluminum. But that is just one facet of sprawling tensions with Washington, Europe and Japan over a state-led economic model they complain hampers market access and subsidizes exports in violation of Beijing’s free-trade commitments.
Companies are looking ahead to a bigger fight over Trump’s approval of higher duties in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
Earlier this month, China warned that any U.S.-China trade agreements “will not take effect” if Trump’s threatened tariff hike on Chinese goods goes ahead.
China has threatened to retaliate by raising import duties on a $50 billion list of American goods including soybeans, small aircraft, whiskey, electric vehicles and orange juice.