After several weeks of reviewing industry comments, the Trump administration announced on Monday afternoon the final list of Chinese goods set to be subjected to tariffs, effective September 24.
As was reported earlier in the day, some consumer electronics were spared in the official list.
In addition to smart watches and Bluetooth devices, certain chemical inputs widely used by American manufacturers, as well as safety products such as bicycle helmets and car seats were granted exemptions.
Trade officials decided to tax the listed products at a 10% rate while threatening that the number would increase to 25% next year, should no deal be reached before then.
The new round of tariffs, which was widely expected, dims the last remaining hope that China’s US trade point man, Vice-Premier Liu He, will be making a trip to Washington any time soon. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent an invitation to restart talks, but his overture has been undercut by chest-pounding rhetoric from the president, including this morning on Twitter:
Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country – and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable. If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be “Tariffed!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2018
The mood in Beijing appears increasingly resigned to a new normal of tariffs for the short term, with discussions focused more on how to manage the Trump administration’s policy, rather than how to make a deal.
On Sunday, former Chinese finance minister, Lou Jiwei, said that Beijing could go as far as to place export bans on key components needed by US manufacturers, according to a report in Caixin. While US companies could establish alternative supply chains, he said, it would take as much as three to five years for many businesses.
He also said that the Trump administration’s goal is to contain China’s economic development, adding: “this won’t change in the near future, but it won’t work either […] We should not panic.”