U.S. releases proposed China tariff list amid strong opposition

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-04 15:20:51|Editor: Yamei
Video PlayerClose

A trader has a rest after market closing at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, on March 22, 2018. U.S. stocks ended lower on Thursday, with the Dow plunging over 700 points, after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariff on imported products from China. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

WASHINGTON, April 3 (Xinhua) -- The Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on Tuesday published a proposed list of Chinese goods subject to additional 25 percent tariffs amid strong opposition from China and U.S. business groups.

The proposed list covers approximately 1,300 products imported from China, worth around 50 billion U.S. dollars of annual trade value,including industries such as aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics and machinery, the USTR's Office said in a statement.

The list, which will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, is based on a so-called Section 301 investigation into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017.

The Chinese Embassy in the United States in response said the Chinese side "strongly condemns and firmly opposes" the unfounded Section 301 investigation and the proposed list of products and tariff increases.

"Such unilateralistic and protectionist action has gravely violated fundamental principles and values of the WTO. It serves neither China's interest, nor U.S. interest, even less the interest of the global economy," the Chinese embassy said in a statement.

The Chinese side will resort to the WTO to settle the dispute and take corresponding measures of "equal scale and strength" against U.S. products in accordance with Chinese law, said the embassy.

The proposed tariff list "appears to mostly target intermediate goods," which would "harm U.S. manufactures who are sourcing from Chinese suppliers," Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Xinhua.

Business groups from China and the United States in recent weeks have warned the Trump administration not to move forward its tariff plan on Chinese imports, as it would raise the costs for American consumers and companies as well as having a negative effect on the financial markets.

"Imposing taxes on products used daily by American consumers and job creators is not the way" to address trade issues between the United States and China, Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday in a statement.

"The U.S. Chamber looks forward to working with the administration throughout the comment period to make the business community's voice heard on the U.S.-China economic relationship," Brilliant said.

The Information Technology Industry Council, a Washington D.C.-based technology industry trade group, also said the proposed tariffs would "penalize U.S. consumers by increasing prices on technology products."

"If history is any indication, these proposed tariffs will not work and will be entirely counterproductive," the trade group said Tuesday in a statement.

Max Baucus, a former senator from the U.S. state of Montana and U.S. ambassador to China, said American farmers "are going to get squeezed" by the tariff proposal "from all sides."

"First, the tariffs the U.S. announced today will make the (agricultural) equipment and inputs they rely on more expensive. Then they'll face new tariffs on their exports when China retaliates," said Baucus, who now serves as the co-chairman of the farm lobbying group Farmers for Free Trade.

"It seems to me we're moving into a period of significantly increasing friction in the area of trade and investment between the U.S. and China," Henry Levine, senior advisor at leading U.S. consulting firm Albright Stonebridge Group, told Xinhua, hoping both countries could sit down and negotiate solutions to address each other's trade and investment concerns.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that it would go through a 60-day comment period after the administration released the proposed tariff list and "there's hope" that trade talks between the United States and China could lead to a fruitful outcome.

While the United States and China have two "very different" economic systems, "it's very possible" that the U.S.-China trade relationship could end up in "a good place" after overcoming "a series of difficulties" over many years, Lighthizer said in an interview with CNBC.

KEY WORDS: tariffs