Tuesday’s announcement was not a surprise. In April, the administration had announced plans to slap tariffs on 1,333 Chinese product lines worth $50 billion a year. After receiving public feedback, it cut 515 products from the list in June and added 284. On July 6, the U.S. began taxing the 818 goods, worth $34 billion, remaining from the April list.
In the meantime, it sought public comment on the new items. On Tuesday, the administration said it had decided to go ahead with tariffs on 279 of the 284 items added in June; they’re worth about $16 billion a year.
China has been retaliating in kind.
And the conflict is likely to escalate: The administration is preparing tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $200 billion in Chinese products. And President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on virtually everything China sells to the United States. Chinese imports of goods and services into the United States last year amounted to nearly $524 billion.
The world’s two biggest economies are locked in a trade dispute over Washington’s charges that China uses predatory tactics in a drive to supplant U.S. technological supremacy. The alleged tactics include cyber-theft and a requirement that American companies hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.