US Tariffs Leave China Little Options That Aren’t ‘Playing Into Trump’s Hands’

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

The Trump administration’s tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods announced Monday leave China with little options to come out on top in the escalating trade war.

China does not import a large enough quantity of goods to impose tariffs on $200 billion in U.S. goods to match the 10 percent tariffs  that the U.S. will apply starting Sept. 24.

“[Chinese officials] don’t know what to do,” University of California, Los Angeles, trade specialist Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda told The New York Times. “They worry that the tit-for-tat model is playing into Trump’s hands.”

China will take unspecified “countermeasures” to fight back against the U.S. tariffs, according to a statement by the Chinese Commerce Ministry cited by CNN.

Chinese leaders have framed the trade war as a larger battle against U.S. attempts to limit China’s global power and are finding smaller ways to fight back against U.S. tariffs.

China will buy soybeans from countries other than the U.S. although it will be challenging to maintain supply levels, and some American-made cars have been subjected to “unusually lengthy” customs inspections that have not actually resulted in any financial losses to U.S. companies, reported The Times.

The U.S. and China have been escalating the trade war since July, when the Trump administration levied tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. China did the same to U.S. goods. The U.S. raised the bar by applying tariffs to $16 billion more in Chinese goods, which China also matched. (RELATED: Trump Administration Moves Forward With Additional $200 Billion In Tariffs)

The tariffs announced Monday will start at 10 percent and ratchet up to 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2019, according to a White House statement. Chinese goods targeted by the U.S. include items from fresh cranberries to printing ink.

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