Although the U.S. and China restarted trade talks this week after a May flare-up in tensions — one that led to the U.S. increasing tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, followed by $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs from China — tariffs were back on the table.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would impose a 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods as of Sept. 1.
“Our representatives have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future Trade Deal,” Trump tweeted. “We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to re-negotiate the deal prior to signing.”
Trump argued China had not committed to augmenting its agricultural purchases from the U.S. or to stop selling the synthetic opioid fentanyl into the U.S.
He continued, stating trade talks are continuing but that the U.S. “will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country.”
Trump’s tweets shook the stock market Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had been up about 300 points, but lost its gains on the heels of Trump’s tweets, closing down 1.05%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.8%, while the S&P 500 was down 0.9%.
The tariffs would cover products on the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) List 4, which included a wide variety of goods, including everyday consumer items.
The list includes cellphones, cheeses, jackets, shirts, jewelry, toys and more.
As for metals, the list features: various forms of iron/nonalloy steel; copper and copper alloy table, kitchen, household articles & parts; and aluminum kitchen or household articles, among others.
Last year, Trump imposed a total of $250 billion in tariffs, first in smaller tranches of $16 billion and $34 billion, then a $200 billion list announced in September 2018. The latest $300 billion tariff list would bring the total to $550 billion, or nearly all imports from China.