US equity futures and offshore Yuan are getting a small bid after-hours following reports confirming President Trump asking USTR Lighthizer to prepare 25% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods – but (positively?) extending the comment deadline from late-August to Sept 5th.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released the following statement regarding further action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974:
“On June 18, the President directed me to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent, in response to China’s decision to cause further harm to U.S. workers, farmers, and businesses by imposing retaliatory duties on U.S. goods. I initiated this process on July 10.
“This week, the President has directed that I consider increasing the proposed level of the additional duty from 10 percent to 25 percent. The 25 percent duty would be applied to the proposed list of products previously announced on July 10.
“The Trump Administration continues to urge China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition. We have been very clear about the specific changes China should undertake. Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behavior, China has illegally retaliated against U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.
“The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is intended to provide the Administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens.
“The United States has joined forces with like-minded partners around the world to address unfair trade practices such as forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft, and we remain ready to engage with China in negotiations that could resolve these and other problems detailed in our Section 301 report.”
Interested parties may address this possible increase in the level of the additional duty in their comments on the proposed action. The proposed list and process for the public notice and comment period is set out in the Federal Register notice issued on July 10 and published in the Federal Register on July 17. To view the July 17 notice, including the list of proposed products to be subject to additional duties, click here. In light of the possible increase of the additional duty rate to 25 percent, the close of the written comment period is extended from August 30 to September 5, and the due date for requests to appear at the public hearing is extended to August 13. These modifications to the comment period will be set out in a notice to be published shortly in the Federal Register.
As a reminder, the first wave of 25% tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods took effect last month, prompting immediate in-kind retaliation from China, and the next round on $16 billion could be implemented by the U.S. in the coming days or weeks.
Then, as Bloomberg reports, the administration last month released a list of thousands Chinese products it wants to slap with an additional 10% in tariffs, ranging from television components to handbags and seafood to baseball gloves. The duties could take effect after the administration draws up its revised, final list of imports following a public comment period.
Hearings are scheduled for Aug. 20 to 23 and the comment period has been extended to Sept. 5 from late August, according to the administration officials.
And that was enough to spark a relief rally of sorts…
It seems everyone just missed the fact that the Trump administration just confirmed that it is proposing raising planned taxes on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% from 10% , turning up the pressure on Beijing in a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
Which is bound to prompt an angry response from the Chinese who earlier warned the U.S. against “blackmailing and pressuring” it over trade.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will fight back should the U.S. further increase tariffs. “If the U.S. takes measures to further escalate the situation, we will surely take countermeasures to uphold our legitimate rights and interests,” spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference on Wednesday.
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