Trump Forges Ahead With $200B Tariff Move, Escalates US-China Trade War

President Donald Trump has dramatically escalated the U.S.-China trade war again. 

In a new announcement issued late Tuesday, the administration said it identified an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. imports from China to be hit with a 10 percent tariff. While the list doesn’t include footwear, it does cite select handbags, travel products and other accessories.

Trump first threatened the move last month, but the list revealed today indicates he’s serious about moving forward.

“With the announcement tonight, it is impossible to see how American families and consumers are not impacted with higher prices,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America. “This will hurt our economy and take away disposable income from consumers who could buy more shoes. While footwear was not on this new round of tariffs announced today, our industry, the American footwear industry, is very familiar with the negative impact tariffs have on consumer goods.”

Priest said that in 2017 alone, the industry paid $1.5 billion in duties on footwear from China. “It is time the Trump Administration sits down with its Chinese counterparts to settle this trade war so that Americans from all walks of life aren’t left with the bill,” Priest said. 

Following the news, Asian markets were bracing for a tumultuous Wednesday trading session, and U.S. futures are down significantly. 

“This move by the Trump administration, though expected, will not do anything to help American workers, American consumers, or American businesses,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association. “By including items such as handbags, hats, and textiles on this additional list of products, the administration has shown that it is not concerned about targeting the American public with its ‘Trump Tax.’ This will result in inflationary costs throughout the supply chain, ultimately paid for by American consumers.

The AAFA urged the administration to “refocus on resolving the underlying issue with China, rather than finding new and creative ways to tax Americans.”

Last Friday, Trump made good on his threats to impose tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports; China’s foreign ministry confirmed that retaliatory duties took effect immediately thereafter.

“In order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we are forced to retaliate,” the Asian country’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

Beyond its own tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on certain goods, Chinese ports have reportedly stalled shipments coming in from the U.S., leading to costly delays and confusion among businesses on both sides of the standoff.

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