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Companies can seek tariff exemptions but rules are unclear

20 March 2018

Trump's focus on China could be even more consequential, both at home and overseas, than the recently announced penalty tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The Trump administration is expected to unveil up to US$60 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports by Friday, targeting a range of items including technology and telecoms products, Reuters reports, citing unidentified officials briefed on the matter.

Meanwhile, at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, world financial leaders on Monday pleaded for an endorsement of free trade amid worries about USA metals tariffs and looming trade sanctions on China. "Yet were this investigation to result in a broadly applied tariff remedy on imports from China, it would hurt American households with higher prices and exacerbate a US tariff system that is already stacked against working families", the letter said.

The steel and aluminum tariffs are set to go into effect this week.

The US trade deficit with China ran to a record $375 billion past year - but US exports to the country were also at a record.

"So much of what we import from China is produced by multinational companies", Lardy said.

Despite the good intentions, large US retailers that have high-volume trade partnerships with Chinese suppliers and manufactures worry the plan will backfire at the cost of American consumers. Soybeans are one of the top two goods the United States exports to China, along with aircraft and aircraft parts, according to government data.

There is a risk of protectionism spreading to other sectors and countries as a result of U.S. President Donald Trump's announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, an expert of German research institute ifo said on Monday.

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Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 14, 2018. All else held equal, gold becomes relatively less attractive as interest rates rise.

Lardy also said that penalizing China likely would not help US producers, even if the tariffs succeeded in stemming the inflow of goods from China. In 2017 alone, US footwear companies and USA consumers paid almost $3 billion in these hidden taxes.

"These persistent problems jeopardize USA global competitiveness, innovation, productivity, and cybersecurity", said the letter. -China relations at the center of his presidential campaign, according to the administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president's plans.

"The president's going to continue fighting for the American worker", said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The protectionist rhetoric however, entered the White House with the arrival of Trump and his "America first" discourse.

However, Canada and South Korea, both stanch allies of Washington and two of the biggest suppliers of steel to the US could also be affected; while Brazil and Mexico are the Latin American countries that are set to suffer the most damage.

"The justification for these USA tariffs is also dubious", Felbermayr noted.

Another petition signed on Sunday by organizations representing a broader mix of industries, including technology and agriculture, advised the White House to "work with like-minded partners to address common concerns with China's trade and investment policies". The Trump administration has been pressing Beijing to come up with a way of reducing that number.

Companies can seek tariff exemptions but rules are unclear