WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration raised the stakes in its trade war with China on Tuesday, saying it would slap 10 percent tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The administration released a wide-ranging list of Chinese goods it proposes be hit with tariffs, including hundreds of food products as well as tobacco, coal, chemicals and tires, dog and cat food, and consumer electronics including television components.
“For over a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in announcing the proposed tariffs.
“Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products … There is no justification for such action,” he said in a statement.
Last week, Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded immediately with matching tariffs on the same amount of U.S. exports to China.
President Donald Trump has said he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods – roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from China last year.
Some U.S. business groups and senior lawmakers sharply criticized the latest action on Tuesday, with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican, saying it “appears reckless and is not a targeted approach.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has supported Trump’s tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, also criticized the administration’s move.
“Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple. Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every day goods for American families, farmers, ranchers, workers, and job creators. It will also result in retaliatory tariffs, further hurting American workers,” a Chamber spokeswoman said.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a lobby group representing the largest U.S. retailers, said: “The president has broken his promise to bring ‘maximum pain on China, minimum pain on consumers.’”
“American families are the ones being punished. Consumers, businesses and the American jobs dependent on trade, are left in the crosshairs of an escalating global trade war,” said Hun Quach, the head of international trade policy for the group.
Administration officials said a two-month process would allow the public to comment on the proposed tariffs before the list is finalized.
Reporting by Ginger Gibson, David Shepardson, and Eric Beech; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Peter Cooney