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Trade war: US lists next $200 bn Chinese goods to face tariffs

11 July 2018

The Trump administration has published a preliminary list of additional Chinese products that could be targeted with tariffs in the escalating trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

The US had no choice but to move forward on the new tariffs after China failed to respond to the administration's concerns over unfair trade practices and Beijing's abuse of American intellectual property, the officials said. The office will hear public comments on the plan and will reach a decision after August 31, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. "We can not 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".

The United States began imposing tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Friday.

"For many years, China has pursued abusive trading practices with regard to intellectual property and innovation", Mr. Lighthizer said in a statement on Tuesday.

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The president last month asked the US Trade Representative's office to identify US$200 billion of Chinese goods that could be hit with 10 per cent tariffs. Industry groups have also highlighted the duties' potential to derail US economic growth. Financial markets have so far shrugged off the first round of tariffs, which were long-telegraphed, with USA stocks up since Friday.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there was "no justification" for China's retaliation. But China only bought about $135 billion in USA goods past year, meaning it will run out of American products to tax before it matches Trump's latest move.

The president has repeatedly described his resort to tariffs - which are paid by American importers - as a lever to extract negotiating concessions from USA trading partners.

The list of goods targeted by the tariffs has not been made public or approved yet, but the official cited by CNBC said that parts of it target the country's "Made in China 2025" initiative to boost key industries such as technology.

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"I'm not sure that Trump feels pressure".

China also seems to be projecting confidence that it can withstand political turmoil, said David Rank, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

In addition, the U.S.is considering separate duties on a further US$16 billion in Chinese goods, after a public hearing later this month.

The Washington Post's Danielle Paquette reported from Beijing.

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Trade war: US lists next $200 bn Chinese goods to face tariffs