David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News
WASHINGTON—The White House said it would assess tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese goods, deepening the dispute with Beijing, while sending a message to European trading partners that the U.S. won’t back away from trade fights.
The new round of tariffs comes on top of two others and is bound to be met with threats of retaliation from Beijing.
Officials in both nations say there are currently no negotiations scheduled, but a senior administration official said the U.S. was willing to talk with China about a resolution.
“We are trying to get China to alleviate its unfair practices,” the official said.
Previous discussions between Treasury Secretary
and Chinese economic envoy Liu He didn’t come close to resolving the dispute.
The new tariffs won’t take effect for at least two months, administration officials said, giving U.S. industry time to comment on the products selected for levies.
Hearings on the products are scheduled for Aug. 20-23.
The additional tariffs follow last week’s imposition of levies on $34 billion of Chinese exports of machinery, components and electronics. Also scheduled are tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese electronics and other components.
The new tariffs are expected to have a more direct consumer impact and could produce a reaction against the trade fight.
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The administration has tried to limit the impact on consumers. For instance, President
had earlier said he would impose 25% tariffs on an additional $100 billion of Chinese goods, but then switched to 10% tariffs on $200 billion of imports, which would ease any price increase.
The announcement of the additional tariffs comes as Mr. Trump arrives in Brussels to meet with allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Although the summit focuses on national security, he may also use the session to press his case that European Union nations are using 10% tariffs on automobiles to protect their market from U.S. vehicle exports.
The Commerce Department has started a trade investigation to see whether car imports undermine U.S. national security, a process that takes months but could ultimately lead to the imposition of tariffs.
The U.S. already has hit European nations with tariffs over their steel exports to the U.S., again citing a national-security rationale.
A senior administration official said the timing of the new tariffs on China was coincidental.
Instead, he said Mr. Trump was simply carrying through on a prior warning that he would assess new tariffs if Beijing retaliated against the initial round of levies.
But U.S. industry officials said the tariffs were bound to be seen as a warning to Europe that the U.S. wouldn’t back off in a trade fight. It also could be a specific warning to German Chancellor
who this week met with Chinese Premier
Both leaders reiterated their commitment to multilateral rules, which was seen as a jab at the U.S.
U.S. business groups have widely criticized the Trump administration for fighting with its allies over trade, rather than trying to enlist them in a trade offensive against Beijing.
“We have the potential to cement lasting change in China’s unfair trade practices and policies—and it would be a shame to squander it,” said
chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council. “We urge President Trump to delay this unnecessary escalation before more consumers and workers are harmed and instead make a concerted effort to build a coalition while he is in Europe this week and then negotiate with China to achieve tangible commitments.”
Write to Bob Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org