“Who’s to blame when parties really get out of hand?
Who’s to blame when they get poorly planned?”
The B-52s weren’t referring to trade disputes in their iconic song, but it somehow seems on point anyway. The back and forth announced tariff increases between the United States and China seem ready to spiral out of control. Where they end up, nobody knows.
The Trump administration’s “national security” tariff increases on steel and aluminum products already have gone into effect, and China has duly announced its own retaliation measures. Far more significant, in terms of trade volume affected, will be the forthcoming and long-awaited Section 301 tariffs just announced by the United States Trade Representative’s office. China plans its own response. The trade that would be affected on each side would be around $50 billion.
Doubling down, President Trump has mused about imposing tariffs on another $100 billion worth of Chinese imports. The Chinese government says it will respond in kind.
About Those Section 301 Tariffs . . .
After finding that China violates U.S. intellectual property rights in myriad ways, USTR has published a list of the products it proposes for coverage by 25 percent ad valorem duties. There will be an opportunity for public comment before the tariffs go into effect, so importers and others who may be adversely affected may want to consider participating.
USTR will hold a hearing on May 15, 2018; requests to appear must be filed by April 23, and written comments are due no later than May 11. Comments are invited:
with respect to any aspect of the proposed action, including:
- The specific products to be subject to increased duties, including whether products listed in the Annex should be retained or removed, or whether products not currently on the list should be added.
- The level of the increase, if any, in the rate of duty.
- The appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by additional duties.
This process must run its course before additional tariffs are actually imposed.
. . . And China’s Response
So, nothing’s imminent, and there may be some kind of negotiated settlement before the fur starts flying. We’ll see. Back to the B-52s:
“Can you pull it back in line?
Can you salvage it in time?
Be tactful when making the rounds and maybe
You can save a party gone out of bounds (party gone out of bounds).”