President Donald Trump said late Friday that the United States would slap China with increased tariffs, shortly after Beijing imposed retaliatory levies on Washington earlier in the day.
Prior to departing for the summit in Paris, the President told reporters that his country would raise tariffs on Chinese products worth $250 billion from 25% to 30%. Trump likewise threatened to increase tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 15%, CNN reports. Those tariffs would affect consumer items starting from September 1, although most goods will be duty-free until December 15, the outlet adds, so as to avoid hurting holiday sales.
Trump’s announcement came on the same day as China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports worth $75 billion, set to take effect on September 1, the country’s Finance Ministry said in a statement.
“We’re having a little spat with China and we’ll win it. We put a lot of tariffs on China today, as you know. They put some on us, we put a lot on them,” President Trump told reporters.
“We’re up to about $550 billion — they’ve been hitting us for many, many years for over $500 billion a year, taking out of our country much more than 500 billion a year. So we want that stopped,” he added.
Both announcements represent an escalation in the wide-ranging trade war which has affected economies worldwide and is not expected to end any time soon. They unnerved investors resulting in a 700-point drop of the Dow, which closed down 2.4% or 623.
The US Trade Representative Office noted that it would “begin the process of increasing the tariff rate to 30% effective October 1 following a notice and comment period.”
Late Friday, Trump also said in a series of tweets that he would not allow what past administrations have let happen – for China to take advaantage of the U.S.
“Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen! In the spirit of achieving Fair Trade, we must Balance this very unfair Trading Relationship,” he wrote.
“China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!). Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25%, will be taxed at 30%,” Trump continued.