Report: Trump Poised to Hit China With $60 Billion in Annual Tariffs

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 9:30 AM

President Trump is following through on his threats to impose steep tariffs on China in retaliation over Beijing’s intellectual property theft.

While senior aides reportedly drafted a $30 billion tariff plan for the president, Trump wanted it doubled, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The latest tariff package, which will likely be announced on Friday, will hit more than 100 products that the president says were developed by using trade secrets either stolen or coerced from U.S. companies in exchange for market access.

If implemented, the tariff package would be one of the broadest sets of economic actions imposed by a modern U.S. president against China and could draw retaliation, fraying the trade partnership between two of the world’s largest economies.

“This looks much more like a president who is excessively eager to apply tariffs than a well-
 calculated move to defend American interests,” said Phil Levy, who was a trade adviser to President George W. Bush. “There are real concerns about Chinese behavior on intellectual property, for example, but there are much more effective ways to address them.” (WaPo)

While many U.S. businesses agree with Trump about China, they are less convinced of his strategy in dealing with Beijing. 

“The U.S.-China Business Council believes that tariffs will do more harm than good in bringing about an improvement in intellectual property protection for American companies in China,” John Frisbie, president of the council, told WaPo. “Business wants to see solutions to the issues, not just sanctions.”

Other businesses were in favor of the plan, however. 

“This would be a clear indication that he’s serious about ensuring there are consequences for intellectual property violations and other ­anti-competitive practices coming from China,” Scott Paul, president of the union-backed Alliance for American Manufacturing, told the Post. “He’s not the first president who’s promised he would do something about China. But if he follows through with these tariffs, he’d be the first to ensure there are real consequences for these violations. That’s a step forward for American workers.”