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Trump to bump up proposed Chinese tariff

04 August 2018

The comment period on the proposal, which includes public hearings on the tariffs due to take place later this month, would be extended into September, the officials said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Congress passed legislation that will strengthen national security-related checks on Chinese investment in the United States, a move that is also aimed at curbing China's ability to capture valuable American technology.

The White House's thoughts on increasing the proposed tariffs were first reported by Bloomberg.

Much of American industry and many members of Trump's own Republican Party have expressed outrage but have so far been unable to thwart Trump's trade policies. It will be September at the earliest before the US decides whether to impose those tariffs.

China's finance ministry unveiled new sets of additional tariffs on 5,207 goods imported from the United States, ranging from five to 25 per cent.

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China will continue to regard the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the priority of its neighborhood diplomacy and be committed to good neighborliness and friendship, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, he said, adding that China supports ASEAN community building as well as ASEAN's central role.

Beijing said it would be forced to take countermeasures to defend Chinese interests, free trade and the global order.

Washington imposed 25 per cent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

China's Commerce Ministry said in a seperate statement Beijing's new set of proposed import tariffs on United States goods were rational and restrained.

Trade tensions between the USA and China have been escalating for months, driven by President Trump's aggressive rhetoric and policy positions.

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"I sense that we're seeing a hardening of attitudes on both sides", said Jacob Parker, vice president of China relations at the U.S. China Business Council.

Lighthizer noted that if tariffs are increased to 25 percent, they would be applied to the proposed list of products that were announced on July 10.

Until now, China has matched United States tariff moves but not sought to escalate them, which has also probably also emboldened the White House to think it holds a stronger position on the escalation ladder. "The cost increases will be passed on to customers, so it will affect most Americans pocketbooks".

Trump in June instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to craft a plan to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports, or roughly 40 percent of the goods that China sends to the U.S. each year. He also has threatened a further round of tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office initially had set a deadline for final public comments on the proposed 10 percent tariffs to be filed by August 30, with public hearings scheduled for August 20-23. It has typically taken several weeks after the closing of public comments for tariffs to be formally activated.

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Trump to bump up proposed Chinese tariff