Washington — The U.S. government followed through on plans to raise tariffs May 10 on $200 billion worth of imports from China, but the decision is drawing opposition from chemical and manufacturing industry trade groups.
Talks between Washington and Beijing were continuing at press time, as the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Manufacturers urged a solution to trade disputes without using tariffs.
In a statement before the tariffs went up, ACC said that “the risks of continuing to use tariffs as a negotiating tactic with China are simply too high — and any potential benefits still unclear.”
NAM urged negotiators to “accelerate their efforts to reach a lasting agreement that ends China's unfair practices, eliminates tariffs and provides real enforcement.”
President Donald Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion in imports to 25 percent from what had been 10 percent. The administration said the higher tariffs only apply to goods shipped on or after May 10, not products in transit.
The U.S. government, in a May 8 announcement, said it was hiking tariffs because “in the most recent negotiations, China has chosen to retreat from specific commitments agreed to in earlier rounds.”
Washington has sought what it calls “structural changes” in China's economy on issues like forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection and cyberspace.
A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry told reporters that Beijing has “good faith” in continuing talks and that “raising tariffs won't resolve any problem.” It said it hoped that the U.S. “can work with China to meet each other halfway.”
The tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China were first imposed last year, in the largest of several rounds of U.S tariffs. ACC estimates that total U.S. tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports thus far include more than $15 billion in chemicals and plastics.
ACC said Beijing's retaliation to those tariffs has also hit nearly $11 billion in U.S. chemical and plastics exports to China and have put 55,000 America jobs and $18 billion in U.S. economic activity at risk.