Trump Escalates Trade War With Tariffs on $16B in Chinese Goods

The Trump administration has finalized its second set of tariffs against China, marking the latest move in an escalating trade war between two of the world’s leading economies.

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, approximately $16 billion worth of Chinese imports will be subject to levies of 25 percent — more than double the 10 percent initially threatened by President Donald Trump.

The list, which contains 279 of the original 284 tariff lines announced on June 15, primarily impacts industrial products. Although tariffs won’t hit footwear, they will affect select handbags, travel products and other accessories.

Customs and Border Protection officials will begin collecting the additional duties on August 23.

On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to defend his trade policy. “Tariffs are working big time,” he wrote. “Every country on earth wants to take wealth out of the U.S., always to our detriment. I say, as they come,Tax them. If they don’t want to be taxed, let them make or build the product in the U.S. In either event, it means jobs and great wealth…..”

He added: “..Because of Tariffs we will be able to start paying down large amounts of the $21 Trillion in debt that has been accumulated, much by the Obama Administration, while at the same time reducing taxes for our people. At minimum, we will make much better Trade Deals for our country!”

The tariffs come a month after the imposed 25 percent levies on $34 billion in Chinese goods went into effect, prompting Beijing to threaten duties ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on 5,207 categories of American goods.

“If the U.S. takes unilateral and protectionist measures that harm Chinese interests, we will respond immediately by taking the necessary decisions to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said then.

Matt Priest, president of Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, told FN at the time that trade wars would adversely affect American businesses and consumers. “The president claimed that trade wars are easy to win, but what our industry has always known is coming true: Trade wars are costly, unnecessary and do harm to the American economy,” Priest explained, adding that the administration should show “real leadership and declare a cease-fire to this self-inflicted conflict.”

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