The US today announced beginning the process of imposing tariffs of 10% on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports, intensifying the trade war between world's two largest economies.
The move comes after China retaliated against the US by imposing tariffs on $34 billion in US exports to China, and threatened tariffs on another $16 billion, which Trump administration described as "unjustified".
July-6 tariffs by US in response to China's 'unfair' practices
In response to China's "unfair" practices, the US on July 6 began imposing tariffs of 25% on approximately $34bn worth of Chinese imports.
"These tariffs will eventually cover up to $50bn in Chinese imports as legal processes conclude. The products targeted by the tariffs are those that benefit from China's industrial policy and forced technology transfer practices," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.
China's retaliatory tariffs imposed without any justification: Lighthizer
China then retaliated by imposing tariffs on $34bn in US-exports to China and threatening tariffs on another $16bn.
"It (China) did this without any international legal basis or justification," Lighthizer said.
As a result of China's failure to change its practices, President Trump has ordered the USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10% on an additional $200bn of Chinese imports.
Lighthizer says China pursued 'abusive' trading practices over years
"This (additional tariffs) is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China's harmful industrial policies," Lighthizer said.
Alleging that for many years, China pursued "abusive" trading practices over intellectual property, Lighthizer said USTR's Section 301 report found that Chinese policies force US innovators to hand-over their technology and know-how as the price of doing business in China.
USTR report found China sponsoring theft of US technology
The USTR's report also found that the Chinese Government sponsors the outright theft of US technology for commercial benefit. "These practices are an existential threat to America's most critical comparative advantage and the future of our economy: our intellectual property and technology," Lighthizer said.
China has not changed its unfair behavior: Lighthizer
According to Lighthizer, for over a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices.
"We have been very clear regarding the specific changes China should undertake. Unfortunately, China has not changed its behavior that puts the future of the US economy at risk. Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against US products," he said.
US willing to resolve concerns: Lighthizer
"As in the past, the US is willing to engage in efforts that could lead to a resolution of our concerns about China's unfair trade practices and to China opening its market to US goods and services," Lighthizer noted.
Senate member finds retaliatory move by US 'reckless'
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, meanwhile, said the Trump administration's fresh tariff announcement appears "reckless" and is not a targeted approach.
"We cannot turn a blind eye to China's mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy," Hatch said.