United States President Donald Trump will seek to place tariffs on over $60 billion of imports from China and target the telecommunications and technology sectors, said two people that have discussed this issued with the White House administration.
Another separate source with direct knowledge of the thinking by the administration said that tariffs, which are associated with a Section 301 investigation of intellectual property, under the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 that started last year during August, could come soon.
While these tariffs would for the most part target information technology, telecoms and consumer electronics, they could become much broader and could at some point reach over 100 products said the person close to the matter.
The White House did not make a comment on the timing or size of the possible tariffs.
The foreign ministry of China said through a spokesperson in Beijing that Sino-U.S. trade relations should not result in a zero-sum game, and the two countries should use a constructive means in which to handle tension.
Trump has targeted the high technology companies in China to punish the country for its investment policies which have effectively forced companies from the U.S. to give up technology secrets in order to be given approval to operate there.
The White House is considering as well on imposing restrictions on investments by Chinese companies that go beyond the increased restrictions for national security, but details related to those were not known.
However, lobbyists expressed their concern that the ambitious plan for tariffs by Trump would include other consumer goods’ sectors that are labor-intensive such as toys, footwear and apparel.
Higher tariffs for those products would be hurtful to American families, said one trade lobbyist. She added that what we are talking about are not fancy expensive sweaters, but cotton T’s, jeans and shoes that children wear to school.
China has a trade surplus of more than $375 billion with the U.S. and when the lead economic adviser for President Xi Jinping recently visited Washington, the administration pushed him to give them a way China could reduce that number.
Trump entered the presidency on promises of shielding American workers from a large number of imports and one of his first actions as the new president last year was pull the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership 12-country trade deal.