The tariff list is meant to affect “products that currently are imported,” the offices of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said, “or could be imported in the future.”
In a statement when it announced the finalized tariff list, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said that “China has been unwilling to change its policies involving the unfair acquisition of U.S. technology and intellectual property” and has instead responded “by taking further steps to harm U.S. workers and businesses.”
Trump Friday once again tweeted his erroneous claim that the U.S. trade deficit with China is $500 billion and the unsupported talking points that tariffs generate revenue and protect American jobs.
In fact, the trade deficit with China under Trump rose from $375 billion to $419 from 2017-2018. Economists argue that number is also deceptive because the components and raw materials come from many countries, but they are given final assembly in China, according to Industry Week.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said the government “deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures” in a statement Friday, without specifying what those might be.
During an escalation last fall in the trade war, China responded by imposing duties on its batch of $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. imports.
But there are other more subtle steps it could take to squeeze American businesses too, requiring additional regulation, for Chinese-based executives to be fluent Chinese speakers or even placing capital controls on repatriating profits, Ludovic Subran, global head of macroeconomic research at Allianz and chief economist at Euler Hermes, told NBC News.
In a previous statement, China accused the United States of “trade bullyism” and said the U.S. was pursuing an “America First” agenda.