The administration of US President Donald Trump says it will begin imposing 25 percent tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of Chinese goods in the next two weeks, escalating a trade war with the world’s second biggest economy.
The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) made the announcement in an emailed statement on Tuesday, saying that the new round of tariffs will take effect on August 23.
The USTR said the duties would be imposed on 279 product lines, down from 284 items on the initial list, and that the new list covered goods such as electronic parts, plastics, chemicals, batteries, and railway cars.
This will be the second time Washington slaps tariffs on Chinese goods in about a month, despite pressure from US business companies coming out strongly against Trump’s trade policies.
“The breadth of the trade war’s impact on American businesses is evidence of the way trade is woven deep into the fabric of our economy. Almost 98% of exporting firms in the US are small businesses, and they represent about one-third of all merchandise exports. These companies rely on trade to stay competitive,” US Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donahue said on Monday.
The US president has threatened to slap tariffs on almost all of Chinese exports to the country.
In early July, Washington imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of imports from China as a first step in a possible series of increases that Trump says could affect up to $550 billion of Chinese goods.
China, for its part, announced that its retaliatory tariffs had taken effect on $34 billion of US goods that included soybeans and electric vehicles.
The US administration recently announced that it would impose 10 percent tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after China retaliated.
Beijing, in response, blasted American unilateralism and filed a complaint with the WTO against the new US-proposed tariffs.
China warned the US that it would have no choice but to take “necessary countermeasures” against Washington.
Washington has also accused Beijing of intellectual property theft, obstructing US businesses, and being responsible for America’s 375-billion-dollar trade deficit with China.
China says Washington is “opening fire” on the world with its raft of tariffs aimed at Beijing as well as at trade partners in North America and Europe.
Amid escalating tensions between the two sides over trade issues, Washington and Beijing have been trying to restart high-level talks that broke off after Trump followed through on his tariff threats.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last week that his country’s door of dialogue with the United States on resolving bilateral trade disputes remains open, reiterating that Beijing is not after a trade war with Washington.