President Trump threatens new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports

President Trump threatens new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports
President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he was considering a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in additional imports from China. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he was considering a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in additional imports from China.

What did Trump say?

In an official statement, Trump said that these new tariffs would be in retaliation for China threatening to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods in response to the last round of tariffs imposed on China by the U.S.

“This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage,” the White House said, citing a “$376 billion trade imbalance.”

The statement said that Trump asked the United States trade representative to determine $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be targeted by the 10 percent tariff.

Trump said that the proposed tariffs were only a deterrent right now, but would go into effect if things didn’t change:

After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced.

What led to this?

On March 1, the Trump administration announced a 25 percent global tariff on all imports of steel to the United States and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminum imports. A small handful of countries were given exemptions, but China was not one of them.

China responded with a 178.6 percent tariff on all imports of sorghum to the United States. China buys around $1 billion worth of American sorghum each year.

On April 3, the White House released a list of 1,300 Chinese products worth $50 billion that could be hit with potential tariffs. China countered with its own list of $50 billion in imports from America.

On June 15, the White House announced that it would be slapping tariffs on an additional $50 billion in imports from China, reflecting its April 3 threat. China’s Ministry of Commerce quickly responded with a statement saying that it would respond with tariffs on the “same scale and the same strength.”

The potential tariffs released on Monday are in retalitation to that statement from China.

Has China responded yet?

China has responded saying that it will counter with both  “qualitative” and “quantitative” countermeasures if the U.S. follows through on this threat, calling the tariffs “a practice of extreme pressure and blackmailing”:

The United States has initiated a trade war and violated market regulations, and is harming the interests of not just the people of China and the U.S., but of the world.

How many tariffs are there now?

If Trump does impose these additional tariffs, the U.S. will have imposed tariffs on $450 billion in Chinese goods. The total number of goods imported to the United States from China in 2017 amounted to around $505.6 billion.