Donald Trump’s administration has launched an aggressive effort to reduce the $337 billion U.S. trade deficit with China, The Guardian reports.
China has, according to the White House, jeopardized the American economy by pursuing unfair trade practices, introducing tariff barriers, and offering subsidies to Chinese companies; essentially preventing the United States from competing on what the White House refers to as a “level playing field.”
The White House will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods containing “industrially significant technology.” The tariffs will cover goods related to the “Made in China 2025” program the Trump administration has repeatedly criticized.
“From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal,” President Donald Trump said in a statement.
These tariffs do not come as a surprise, considering Donald Trump’s campaign was largely protectionist. During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly asserted that he would tax China and favors big tariffs on Chinese exports. This has, according to the New York Times, been on the President’s mind long before the 2016 campaign.
Tariffs on Chinese exports, as a solution to a part of America’s problems, have been a key part of the current president’s rhetoric since 2011 when he first considered running for president. Trump, who at the time told the NYT that he considers himself a “free trader,” has always insisted that trade has to be “reasonably fair.”
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Trump’s tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum have been a major cause of concern for American manufacturers. Reporting quarterly results in April this year, executives at companies such as Harley-Davidson Inc, Ford Motor Co, and Whirlpool Corp warned investors about the impact so-called Trump tariffs will have on business. In response to Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel, China has imposed levies on American aluminum and agricultural products.
The Trump administration, however, does not seem to have backed down. The full list of products affected by the newest tariffs will be announced by June 15, NPR reported, and tariffs will be implemented shortly thereafter.
Apart from the 25 percent tariff, the White House will impose investment restrictions and enhanced export controls. Chinese corporations and individuals will, therefore, be prevented from acquiring American technology.
This announcement, The Guardian noted, comes at a sensitive time for the fragile diplomatic relations between the United States and China. While America remains amid talks with North Korea, the tensions in the South China Sea are rising. American vessels recently sailed close to two disputed islands in the South China Sea, prompting protests from Beijing.
The Trump administration has been sending mixed signals regarding the trade war with China. On May 20, as The Hill reported, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that a trade war with China had been put “on hold” until the administration “executes a framework.”