On Friday, President Donald Trump threatened to hit China once again with crippling tariffs on an additional $267 billion in goods, expanding the growing trade war with the second largest economy in the world, and is willing to tariff virtually everything the United States imports from China.
Speaking on Air Force One, Trump said he plans on imposing this new, much larger round of tariffs "on short notice.”
These additional tariffs would come on top of tariffs the Trump administration has already implemented on roughly $53 billion in Chinese imports early this year.
According to Trump, who indicated that he might be open to some sort of a negotiated solution if Beijing were willing to make concessions…
“The $200 billion we’re talking about could take place very soon.”
“To a certain extent, it’s going to be up to China.”
“I hate to say that, but behind that, there’s another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want. That totally changes the equation.”
The public comment period on Trump's plan to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods formally ended Friday, clearing the way for Trump to make good on the threat. None of the comments were believed to have made any difference to dissuade Trump from moving forward to escalate the trade war and prevent what might be an economic disaster.
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Normally, between the end of the comment period and before new tariffs are imposed, there’s a period for analysis of comments and risks. Trump’s comments are indicating he’s prepared to impetuously put in place the duties on the additional amount without any new public input or comment period.
Imposing tariffs on an additional $267 billion of Chinese imports — on top of the roughly $253 billion that has already been imposed or are pending — would mean virtually all current imports from China would be caught in the crossfire. It would also be a huge problem for U.S. companies like the Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and hundreds of manufacturers of consumer goods like cell phones and televisions.
Criticism has been pouring out into the media from all kinds of people and organizations including Jose Castaneda, a spokesman for the Information Technology Industry Council, who said in a statement…
“The notion that the president is going to add an extra $267 billion worth of tariffs is grossly irresponsible and possibly illegal.”
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said …
“Today’s threat to escalate the trade war is a threat to North Dakota farmers,"
"Imposing steep tariffs and bailing out select industries with government subsidies isn’t how you punish China; it’s how you become China. Americans don’t want government handouts - they want free trade and open markets.”
"I’ve long pushed to hold China accountable for its trade violations, but we can’t do it on the backs of hardworking North Dakotans."
Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, said in a statement…
"We urge the administration not to lose sight of the farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses across the country who are getting crushed by this misguided trade war,"
The few free-market Republicans remaining are timidly speaking out about Trump's latest threat, saying these tariffs put at risk the good work the administration has done by cutting taxes and reducing regulations.