By Jarrett Dang
The Trump administration levied new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods in an escalating trade dispute between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, reports the New York Times.
The U.S. tariffs took effect on September 24, starting at 10 percent and will gradually rise to 25 percent by January 1, 2019. The Chinese government responded with tariffs of their own affecting $60 billion of American goods ranging from 5 percent to 10 percent.
This latest round of tariffs was the second in what has now been termed a ‘trade war’ between the world’s two largest economies. The first round of tariffs came earlier this summer when the U.S. administration imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of goods. The Chinese government responded equally with 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. goods.
During the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, then-candidate Trump campaigned on ending unfair practices by the Chinese government and eliminating the trade deficit between the U.S. and China, which stood at $375.6 billion last year. Trump campaigned on the doctrine of “America First” and promised to end what he saw as unfair trade deals.
Trump also claimed that China was engaging in currency manipulation on top of assertions that China was stealing trade secrets and intellectual property from U.S. corporations. The U.S. has asserted that China has strict rules that force foreign corporations to hand over their technology if they want to do business inside the country.
China has espoused a different view on the matter, saying that the U.S. government is unfairly targeting China while claiming to follow international trade rules. The Chinese government has filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization and has released a report accusing the U.S. of trade bullying.
Reuters reports that Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, Chen Jian, said that the US was holding a knife to China’s neck and couldn’t be negotiated with.
According to the Los Angeles Times, China has also positioned itself as a defender of free trade against protectionism, claiming that the Trump administration has abandoned the “mutual respect” that is required for international relations.
The Washington Post reports that the Chinese government has canceled all bilateral negotiations with the U.S. and has recalled its delegation from Washington, signaling that China is not willing to submit to U.S. demands.