By Natasha Bach
May 13, 2019

Three days after President Donald Trump announced an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, China is retaliating. It announced Monday that it will increase tariffs on a range of U.S. goods on June 1.

The announcement closely followed a series of taunting tweets from Trump.

“Their [sic] is no reason for the U.S. Consumer to pay the Tariffs, which take effect on China today,” Trump said, adding that the tariffs could be avoided entirely if “you by [sic] from a non-Tariffed Country, or you buy the product inside the USA (the best idea).”

“There will be nobody left in China to do business with,” he continued, concluding, “China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!” Trump concluded.

The tariffs China plans to impose are an increase on those already existing. The more than 2,000 items that were already subject to a 10% tariff will be increased to 25%, including animal products like beef, frozen fruits, vegetables and seasonings, some textiles, technology like microwaves and printers, and liquefied natural gas imports. Alcoholic drinks and chemicals are among other items included in this list.

Another 1,000-odd items that were subject to a 10% tariff will see that increase to 20%, including other food items, baking condiments, some construction equipment, books, and a range of consumer products like golf clubs, bowling pins, and roller skates.

In addition to those mentioned above, 974 items that currently have a 5% tariff will jump to 10%, and another 595 items will remain at a 5% tariff, including tires, light bulbs, and some paper products. Auto parts, which have been exempt since December, are still excluded.

The tariffs will continue to have the most severe impact on states and industries that supported Trump in 2016, including those working in oil and gas in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, as well as farmers across the country.

The latest tit-for-tat coincides with the 11th (failed) meeting on trade between senior Chinese and American officials. While both sides claim they want talks to continue and to reach a trade deal, the one-upmanship may prove to make that difficult. After last week’s talks failed to yield a deal, a new round was not immediately scheduled.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow suggested on Sunday, however, that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely talk at the G20 Summit next month. In the meantime, the retaliations may not yet be over. Trump suggested that there could be more tariffs coming on an additional $300 billion worth of goods. For its part, the Chinese also do not appear willing to back down.

Wei Jianguo, a former vice-minister at the Ministry of Commerce, told the South China Morning Post Monday, “China will not only act as a kung fu master in response to US tricks, but also as an experienced boxer and can deliver a deadly punch at the end.”

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