In a statement Tuesday morning, the White House announced that the United States would impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion of imported goods from China that contain “industrially significant technology, including those related to the ‘Made in China 2025’ program. The specific list of goods that will be hit with the tariffs will be announced on June 15 and the tariffs will be imposed on those goods “shortly thereafter.”
In March, the U.S. Trade Representative issued a report on Chinese practices related to technology transfers, intellectual property and innovation, along with a list of dozens of items that could be affected by the U.S. tariffs.
Among the top imports targeted were steel, aluminum and a variety of industrial machinery used to make everything from cardboard to preparing and packaging food.
The announcement will certainly draw a response from China imposing tariffs on goods imported into that country from the United States. When the U.S. Trade Representative’s list was first released China released its own list of U.S.-produced items that would be subject to import tariffs. The list of 128 items included a variety of agricultural products as well as some steel products and other manufactured goods.
In addition to tariffs the U.S. will impose investment restrictions and “enhanced” export controls for Chinese persons and businesses related to the acquisition of “industrially significant technology.” These restrictions will be announced on June 30, according to the White House statement.
Less than two weeks ago, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a trade war with China was “on hold,” and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had been scheduled to travel to Beijing later this week to continue discussions aimed at avoiding a trade war. There was no indication whether Ross’s trip would go ahead as planned, but it seems unlikely at this point.