Washington, Sep 17 (EFE).- President Donald Trump on Monday ordered tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion worth of imports from China starting on Sept. 24.
In a statement released by the White House, the president added that these tariffs will be increased to 25 percent starting on Jan. 1.
Trump went on to threaten additional tariffs if China makes any reprisals or retaliates in any way to the move, which had been expected after the close of the stock market on Monday as per remarks by the president earlier in the day.
The move constitutes a significant escalation of the trade war between the US and China, and the additional tariffs announced on Monday come after the Trump administration in June imposed tariffs on some $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, to which China responded in like measure.
All told, with the new tariffs, about half of the products that China sells to the US – the world’s two biggest economies – will be affected by significantly higher duties.
Trump in recent weeks had pushed his advisers to implement the new tariffs, despite the fact that the US and China had been negotiating to restart the stalled bilateral trade talks. The Wall Street Journal had reported on the weekend that a new round of trade talks was scheduled to begin on Sept. 27-28 in Washington.
“China has had many opportunities to fully address our concerns,” said Trump in the White House statement on Monday evening. “Once again, I urge China’s leaders to take swift action to end their country’s unfair trade practices.”
Earlier on Monday, Trump had said at the White House – discussing the yet-to-be-imposed tariffs – that “It will be a lot of money coming into the coffers of the United States of America.”
“They want to make a deal,” Trump said. “But from our standpoint, it has to be fair. It has to take care of our workers.”
Trump calculates Washington’s annual trade deficit with Beijing to be some $376 billion, a figure he calls unacceptable and which needs to be brought into greater balance.
In July, the administration had published a list of more than 200 product areas that would be affected by the new round of tariffs implemented on Monday, including nuclear reactors, traffic signals and train components.
However, since the list was published, more than 300 products have been deleted including smartwatches and many other products manufactured and sold by Apple Inc., as well as health and safety devices and children’s playpens.
Trump, meanwhile, has suggested that – if a fair deal cannot be worked out – he might impose a third round of tariffs on an additional $267 billion of Chinese goods.