The trade war between the U.S. and China is about to get more intense, as China says it is preparing to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of goods made in the United States.
The threat comes as the U.S. has increased rhetoric about the dispute. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider raising proposed tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products from 10% to 25%. China says if that happens, it will follow through with its taxes, which will range from 5% to 25%.
The new China tariffs on the U.S. will impact metals, chemicals, and agriculture-related items.
“The U.S. side has repeatedly escalated the situation despite the interests of both enterprises and consumers,” said China’s Ministry of Commerce in a Web posting. “China has to take necessary counter-measures to defend the country’s dignity and the interests of the people, defend free trade and the multilateral system, and defend the common interests of all countries in the world.”
An escalation by China, even if it’s done in response to U.S. actions, could spur Trump to take things further. Last month, he said it was “ready” to place tariffs on every Chinese good imported into the U.S.
Administration officials are using the tariffs to force China to the negotiating table as the U.S. seeks to change the existing trade deal. Support, though, has been far from unanimous.
Among the notable opponents is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which says the escalating global trade war will hurt American consumers in the long run. While it’s unclear when the effects will hit American consumers directly, the trickle-down effects of tariffs will impact people’s wallets more and more the longer the dispute continues.