From Harley-Davidson motorcycles and
American bourbon to Chinese parts and machinery, the world's two largest
economies have exchanged punitive tariffs that slice through a wide swath of
As of Thursday, the United States is charging
25-per cent import duties on an additional $16 billion in Chinese products,
bringing the total to over 1,000 items valued at about $50 billion in trade a
China has responded dollar-for-dollar on
hundreds of US products, putting
the total value of affected goods at $100 billion, one-seventh of total
annual US-China trade.
The Trump administration says its aggressive stance
is to pressure Beijing to change policies that allow the theft of US technology
and undercut American producers.
The tariffs are aimed at Chinese goods, such as
aircraft parts and computer hard drives, that Washington says have benefited
from unfair trade practices.
China has accused the United States of starting
the "largest trade war in
Computers, electronics and machinery are among
the hardest-hit, including $1.1 billion in imports of computer processors, and
the same amount of electrical machines.
The next biggest victims are $700 million in
integrated circuits, $500 million in solar cells, and $400
million in computer memory.
Also on the US hit list are milking machines for
dairy cows, incubators for baby chicks, flight data recorders, x-ray tubes,
bulldozers and arc lamps as well as motorcycles and mopeds.
While the top five targeted Chinese products
total about $9 billion, there are dozens of products that have seen no imports
-- or in very small amounts -- over the past two years.
Spacecraft, helicopters, microwave tubes,
nuclear reactor parts, telescopes, locomotives and retread tires are among the
goods subject to tariffs but unlikely to be hit by them in practice.
Ironically, the goods the United States has
targeted are mostly intermediate products manufactured in China by
multinational companies imported by US-based manufacturers, and miss Chinese
firms, according to analysts.
The Peterson Institute for International
Economics says nearly all of the US tariffs imposed on China to date are on
intermediate goods and capital equipment needed by US industry.
China so far has retaliated in kind, hitting
American agricultural goods and autos in July, along with new taxes on more
than 300 US products Thursday.
Beijing's latest volley is aimed at 333 US
exports like hybrid electric and off-road vehicles, coal, dump trucks, asphalt,
MRI machines and motorcycles, among other items.
Harley-Davidson will have to bump up the Chinese
price of its iconic motorbikes at least 20 per cent, a store representative in
That adds to the American beef, pork, many types
of fish, and dozens of fruits and nuts that were taxed in July.
The most painful perhaps is the tariff on US
soybeans, which chokes off a key export market for American farmers, who
shipped $14 billion of the beans to China last year.
The $50 billion in goods now subject to tariffs
is only the first round.
The office of the US Trade Representative is
looking into 25-per cent duties on another $200 billion in goods, with hearings
underway this week. Those could take effect as soon as next month.
And as China has vowed to retaliate further,
Trump has threatened to target all $500 billion in goods the US imports from
the Asian giant.