USA tariffs make no dent on China exports surge

A Chinese worker looks on as a cargo ship is loaded at a port in Qingdao Shandong Province

Despite concerns by US businesses and industries, the Trump administration said Tuesday that it will begin slapping extra 25 percent tariffs on another 16 billion USA dollars in Chinese imports in two weeks, further risking an escalation of the ongoing trade tensions.

China has reacted swiftly to Washington's decision to impose a further tariffs on $16 billion-worth of imports from China by announcing its own fresh tariffs, with crude oil included.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, shed 2% to $67.70 per barrel after the Ministry of Commerce released a new list of American goods that will be subject to tariffs. After Liu visited Washington later that month, the nations released a joint statement pledging to reduce the US trade deficit with China, among other things.

China's Commerce Ministry called the US decision to place the latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods "unreasonable", and said it chose to take counter measures, matching the tariffs in percentage and value. Last week Trump threatened to jack up the tariff rate on the next $200 billion in Chinese imports it plans to target to 25 percent, from the previously stated 10 percent.

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says the tariffs are in response to China's "unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property".

While trade tensions are being ratcheting up, China's trade surplus with the USA stood at US$28.1 billion in July, close to the record-high in June, data released Wednesday showed. Big-ticket USA items that are still not on any list are crude oil and large aircraft. Schneider National Carriers Inc. and other firms testified during a hearing July 24-25 in Washington that there are no United States manufacturers and that the containers are nearly exclusively made in China.

Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said he expected that there would be little to stop further escalation of the U.S. Economic threats will continue escalating before any settlement is possible, they said. Washington farmers export more sweet cherries to China than any other country. That's soon enough to be used by Trump as a rallying argument, but late enough so that adverse effects will not occur before January 2019. Those new tariffs, totaling $16 billion, will be levied against 279 products, including motorcycles, steam turbines and railway cars.

China deprives US companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.

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