Since the announcement by the Trump administration of substantial import tariff increases on aluminum and steel, as well as its direction to the U.S. Trade representative to implement trade sanctions on China, we have seen further steps taken and reactions to those steps.
China has made clear its intention to "fight to the end" and respond in-kind to any U.S. imposition of additional duties. It imposed on April 2nd 25% duties on 8 different products including pork and pork products, as well as 15% duties on 120 other products, including fruits. It has been estimated this will impact $3 billion worth of U.S. exports.
The U.S. Trade Representative yesterday announced a list of some 1,300 separate tariff line items it intends to target for duty increases on goods from China. The full product list can be found here. This list is supposed to be subject to a further review and public comment process before a final determination is made. While the Administration has indicated it wants to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports the USTR has announced the total value of imports subject to tariff increase will be commensurate with the harm caused by China's unreasonable technology transfer policies to the U.S. economy.
Public comments to the USTR are being accepted through May 11th in preparation for a meeting scheduled for May 15 to consider final approval of items slated for duty increases. USTR “strongly prefers” electronic submissions made through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Both China and the U.S. are now in the process of presenting their positions to the World Trade Organization in the hopes that the WTO trade dispute process can help resolve the issues.
As the tit-for-tat game seems to be ramping up all importers and exporters should be monitoring this situation closely. Already we can see a wide range of products which have the potential to be impacted. It will be important that the trade community make their voices heard. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you advised as well.