US imposes new $200bn tariffs on China

The US is imposing new tariffs on $200bn (£150bn) worth of Chinese goods as it escalates its trade war with Beijing. The higher import taxes will apply to more than 5,000 items, marking the biggest round of US tariffs so far. Handbags, rice and textiles will be included, but some items expected to be targeted such as smart watches and play pens have been excluded. China has previously vowed to retaliate against any further US tariffs. The taxes will take effect from 24 September, starting at 10% and increasing to 25% from the start of next year unless the two countries agree a deal.President Donald Trump said the latest round of tariffs was in response to China’s “unfair trade practices, including subsidies and rules that require foreign companies in some sectors to bring on local partners. “We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. “But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices,” he said. He also warned that if China retaliated then the US would “immediately pursue phase three” which would mean imposing further tariffs with taxes on another $267bn worth of Chinese products. If he does go ahead with a further $267bn worth of tariffs, it would mean virtually all of China’s US exports would be subject to new duties. his latest round is the biggest to date, and unlike the earlier rounds this latest list targets consumer goods, such as luggage and furniture. That means regular households may start to feel the impact. US companies have already said they are worried about the effect of higher costs on their businesses. The White House says its tariffs are a response to China’s “unfair” trade policies. In theory, the tariffs will make US-made products cheaper than imported ones, so encourage consumers to buy American. The idea is they would boost local businesses and support the national economy. US officials hope the risk of economic harm will convince the Chinese government to change its policies. However, many US businesses are critical of the tariffs. Farmers, manufacturers, retailers and other industry groups have formed a coalition to oppose the tariffs, calling them taxes on American families. “Tariffs have already resulted in layoffs, and this escalation will continue to squeeze American businesses with higher input costs and American farmers with decreasing commodity values,” said Jonathan Gold, a spokesman for the coalition. Talks between high-level officials ended in May without resolving the matter. Efforts to re-start discussions have failed to progress. US and China officials had discussed a new round of talks over the past week, but President Trump’s latest move is likely to sour relations further.