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7 Aug, 2018 20:56

Trade war: US finalizes new batch of tariffs on $16bn of Chinese products

Trade war: US finalizes new batch of tariffs on $16bn of Chinese products

Approximately $16 billion worth of Chinese imports will be subject to a 25 percent tariff come August 23, the US Trade Representative has announced, citing China’s ongoing “unfair trade practices.”

This is the second tranche of tariffs following the July 6 levy on approximately $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, the USTR said. The final list of products contains 279 lines, down from 284 that were originally proposed.

Explaining the decision, the USTR cited an “exhaustive” investigation that found China using joint venture requirements, investment restrictions and licensing procedures to pressure US companies into technology transfers. Beijing also directs and “unfairly facilitates” the investment into and acquisition of US companies in order to achieve large-scale technology transfers, the USTR claimed.

The trade representative’s office also accused China of “cyber intrusions into US commercial computer networks to gain unauthorized access to commercially valuable business information.”

The list of products impacted by the tariffs includes an array of lubricants, plastics and polymers, tractor engines, electric motors, railway cars, “fertilizer distributors” and some measuring instruments, among others.

Beijing has already threatened to retaliate against US products in kind, warning Washington against “blackmailing and pressuring.”

“If the US takes measures to further escalate the situation, we will surely take countermeasures to uphold our legitimate rights and interests,” Geng Shuang, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters last week, in response to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s announcement he was considering a list of thousands of Chinese products worth $200 billion that could face additional 10-percent tariffs.

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