Trade Advisers Urge Trump To More Than Double Tariffs On Chinese Imports

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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President Donald Trump’s trade team is advising him to move forward with a plan to more than double a proposed tariff rate on $200 billion in Chinese imports as a way to force Beijing to make trade concessions, according to multiple reports.

The plan calls for tariffs as high as 25 percent on the Chinese goods in question, up from the original proposal of a 10 percent import tax, Bloomberg reported late Monday, citing three officials familiar with the deliberations.

Washington has already imposed 25 percent tariffs on about $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, and similar tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of goods are expected to take effect this week or next. But the latest proposed tariffs would hit a much bigger batch of Chinese goods, including food, chemicals and hundreds of categories of consumer products.

The Trump administration said earlier in July that it would seek a 10 percent tariff on those Chinese goods in response to Beijing’s failure to address unfair trade practices. (RELATED: U.S. Decides To Hit China With Tariffs On $200 Billion In Chinese Goods)

“For over a year, the Trump Administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. “Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products.”

Now, some of Trump’s trade advisers are advocating a higher tariff rate as a means to force Chinese officials back to the negotiating table. They also say a stiffer penalty is needed to compensate for the rapid depreciation of the yuan, which has fallen six percent against the dollar since May 30, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The proposal to boost tariffs even further comes as trade talks between Washington and Beijing have largely stalled and both countries have hit each other with tit-for-tat import duties. The Trump administration has rejected Beijing’s offers to purchase more U.S.-made products, arguing they do nothing to address longstanding Chinese trade barriers such as currency manipulation, import quotas and intellectual property theft.

The increased tariff proposals could be announced in a Federal Register notice as early as Wednesday. Any increase in the tariff rate would take effect after a public comment period, which usually lasts at least 60 days.

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