The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative yesterday issued a draft notice calling for public comments on proposed 25% tariffs covering approximately $300 billion in Chinese goods, listing more than 3,800 targets that could be hit.
A public hearing on the proposed modification of actions already approved under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 will be held in Washington on June 17. Comments are due by June 10.
“The proposed product list covers essentially all products not currently covered by action in this investigation,” states the USTR’s notice. “The proposed product list excludes pharmaceuticals, certain pharmaceutical inputs, select medical goods, rare earth materials, and critical minerals.”
The latest escalation in the China-U.S. trade war follows the decision by the Trump administration last week to increase levies on US$200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% from 10%, after accusing Beijing of backing out of a deal that had appeared near to being imminent in recent weeks.
U.S. officials said their Chinese counterparts had been “moving the goal posts” on the enforcement of provisions regarding certain key issues at the centre of the dispute related to intellectual property, forced technology transfer, and subsidies.
China also fired back with retaliatory countermeasures of its own on Monday, further hiking duties on thousands of items worth roughly $60 billion which had previously been targeted last year.
Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign comprised of over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations from across retail, technology, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, released a statement denouncing the last escalation saying it “will do nothing to hold China accountable” and complained that tariffs are “forcing consumers to pay more for clothes, shoes, toys, electronics and even food, while making it more difficult for exporters to compete.”
Stating that the trade war “has gone on for far too long, and the costs have grown far too high,” the group said both countries need to “get the negotiations back on track” and warned President Trump and lawmakers in Washington that the “patience of farmers, manufacturers, businesses and consumers is wearing thin.”
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