US Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Activated; Some Countries Exempt
Mar 24 2018 by Lorena Waters
The patience wore out with Trump, who as a presidential candidate in 2016 vilified China and blamed it for the ills that had befallen American manufacturing workers.
That measure had not targeted Chinese imports alone.
China's announcement is seen by analysts as a "measured response" to the USA, with 127 other United States products targeted for tariffs, including ethanol, fresh fruit, steel and wine. "The list that China has announced appears to be a retaliation, but still it is very measured", said Li Yong, senior fellow of China Association of International Trade. China is an important market for USA pork. The administration has accused China of flooding the world market with undervalued steel, which can make its way to the United States after landing in another country. This will really hurt USA pork producers.
Lin estimated that at least a third of shoes sold in the United States would still come from China, because other manufacturers can not provide more.
Even central banks, which normally stay above the fray of trade spats, are weighing in. This could not be happening at a worse time for American agriculture.
The latest trade action sent stocks diving as fears rise that the U.S., which accuses China of mass theft of intellectual property and other unfair practises, could provoke a damaging trade war.
In applying the steel and aluminum tariffs, Trump's main concern is that China has for years overproduced steel and aluminum, depressing prices globally and causing job losses in other countries, like the US but also in Europe.
The US claims under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) relate to China's discrimination against foreign intellectual property rights holders (Article 3) and failure to ensure patent rights for foreign patent holders (Article 28). "We don't know if this will be a constructive or destructive move". Earlier this month, Trump signed an order to slap taxes of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum products imported from countries including China.
While Pillsbury and others believe more people are seeing China's actions for what they are, his concern is that China is expanding its influence worldwide at a faster rate than the United States.
Dozens of industry groups sent a letter last weekend to Trump warning that "the imposition of sweeping tariffs would trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the USA economy, provoking retaliation, stifling US agriculture, goods, and services exports, and raising costs for businesses and consumers".
The U.S. tariff hike on steel and aluminum imports also has irked Japan, America's closest ally in Asia. NFU is very concerned about the effects that China's proposed retaliatory efforts would have on all agricultural products, particularly given our already burdensome inventories of grains.
Trump on Thursday instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to propose additional tariffs on Chinese products following a seven-month investigation into the Asian nation's intellectual property practices under the rarely used Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The US exported $669 million of fruit, frozen juice and nuts to China previous year, and it was the top supplier of apples, cherries, walnuts and almonds.
With technology a critical component of supply chain operations and logistics, intellectual property thefts can "jeopardize US global competitiveness, innovation, productivity and cybersecurity", ITI wrote in a letter. "I think that's the game that's going on here, to try to get the other countries to play the same game we are, and push the problems back on the Chinese".
WH Group has also been increasing its supplies from South American and European countries in recent years, said Chein.