On Monday, U.S President Donald Trump said that he will impose a new round of tariffs amounting to almost $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. He warned that if China takes retaliatory measures, “we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.”
Apple smart watches, Fitbit, Bluetooth devices and other consumer-focused technology products were spared from the latest round of tariffs.
Consumer safety products made in China, such as bicycle helmets sold by Vista Outdoor and baby car seats and other products from Graco Inc., were not on the list too.
A senior Trump administration official told reporters, “This is not an effort to constrain China, but this is an effort to work with China and say, ‘It’s time you address these unfair trade practices that we’ve identified that others have identified and that have harmed the entire trading system.”
Retail groups are angered by this latest move from Washington.
Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents major tech firms said, “President Trump’s decision to impose an additional $200 billion is reckless and will create lasting harm to communities across the country,”
RILA’s vice president for international trade, Hun Quach said “Tariffs are a tax on American families, period. Consumers – not China – will bear the brunt of these tariffs and American farmers and ranchers will see the harmful effects of retaliation worsen.”
Meanwhile, China said on Tuesday that the latest round of tariffs leave them no choice but to retaliate despite raising the risk of Trump going all out with this ongoing trade war.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media that this new round of tariffs have brought “new uncertainty” to U.S-China relations.
“China has always emphasized that the only correct way to resolve the China-U.S. trade issue is via talks and consultations held on an equal, sincere and mutually respectful basis. But at this time, everything the United States does not give the impression of sincerity or goodwill,” he added.
While President Trump’s position may not be popular, he is putting a tough stand versus China. As we’ve seen in China’s dealings with Sri Lanka, the African countries, the Philippines, and with American companies that are doing business with them, China can and will impose highly-oppressive policies.
The U.S. will need a leader who will push back and not kowtow before China. Diplomacy has its limits. In the past, all it has accomplished is to enable China to continue it onerous and usurious business practices.