The US has announced its plans to impose taxes on a further $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, in retaliation for China's retaliation to America's first round of tariffs. "This new round of proposed tariffs takes the fight onto yet another level from which it is going to be hard for either side to make a graceful retreat", said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monteary Fund's China division.
The move is a major escalation in a brewing trade war between the world's two largest economies.
Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of goods in response to complaints Beijing is hurting American companies by stealing or pressuring enterprises to hand over technology. They are meant to put pressure on China to stop stealing US companies' trade secrets and forcing them to hand over intellectual property to Chinese firms as a condition of doing business there. "There is no justification for such action", he said in a statement.
The additional 6,031 product lines would be hit with a 10 percent tariff.
Also Tuesday, China stepped up action against some US goods by announcing anti-dumping duties raw materials used in making optical fibers. But China only bought about $135 billion in USA goods a year ago, meaning it will run out of American products to tax before it matches Trump's latest move.
The move comes just days after the USA and China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs of $34bn on the other countries' goods.
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While China's theft and coercion of intellectual property from foreign companies is a widely acknowledged problem, trade experts are largely skeptical of Mr. Trump's strategy to deal with it through punitive tariffs.
"Tariffs on such a broad scope of products make it inconceivable that American consumers will dodge this tax increase as prices of everyday products will be forced to rise".
"This is where a painful situation gets more painful", said Phil Levy, a former White House economist in the George W. Bush administration. "Unfortunately, China has not changed its behaviour". "Consumers, businesses and the American jobs dependent on trade, are left in the crosshairs of an escalating global trade war", said Hun Quach, the head of worldwide trade policy for the group.
"I'm not sure that Trump feels pressure".
In addition, the United States is considering separate duties on a further US$16 billion in Chinese goods, after a public hearing later this month. "Moreover, they will blame any economic troubles on Trump and the United States".