On August 30th, 2019, the United States began imposing 15% tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods including footwear, watches, television, and many others, in response to China imposing new duties on United States crude, the latest escalation in a heated trade war. President Trump, writing on Twitter, explained that his goal was to reduce the United States’ reliance on China’s producing, and again urged American companies to find alternate suppliers to China. These tariffs apply to over $125 billion in Chinese imports, ranging from clothing goods to technology.
According to the New York Times economists, the tariffs will cost United States households up to $1,000 a year and the latest round will hit a significant number of United States consumer goods.
In retaliation, China has started to impose additional tariffs on United States goods on a $75 billion target list. Beijing has not yet specified the value of the goods that face higher tariffs from August 30th. The additional tariffs of 5% and 10% were levied on 1,717 items of a total of 5,078 products originating from the United States. Beijing will begin collecting additional tariffs on the rest starting on December 15th, 2019.
These additional tariffs are not satisfying American leaders in business; Steve Lamar, the executive vice president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, told the BBC that the new tariffs were “just in time for our most important selling season of the year. They claim that they are hurting China, but in reality, they are hurting us. Prices will go up, sales will go down, jobs will be lost.”
President Trump on the other hand, has vehemently defended his new tariffs by citing comments from the United States economist Peter Morici, who explained that the tariffs would not affect American consumers greatly, and provide a drop in the Chinese currency.
In response, the Chinese media has struck a defiant note. “The United States should learn how to behave like a responsible global power and stop acting as a school bully,” the official Xinhua news agency explains. “As the world’s only superpower, it needs to shoulder its due responsibility, and join other countries in making this world a better and more prosperous place. Only then can America become great again.”
No matter where you stand on the issue of tariffs, there is no denying that the United States / Chinese trade war can only get more complicated from here on out.
By Maggie Di Sanza