Background

President Trump could announce within the next few weeks higher tariffs on more than 100 goods imported from China, according to several press sources. The import duties would be the culmination of a section 301 investigation launched last summer on China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.

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According to a Politico article, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently presented to the president “a package of tariffs that would target the equivalent of $30 billion a year in Chinese imports.” However, the article said, Trump “urged Lighthizer to aim for an even bigger number,” which some sources have put at $60 billion or more. Other press articles said the potential tariffs could impact a wide range of goods, including electronics, telecommunications equipment, furniture, toys, apparel, and footwear.

There is concern that a decision to impose higher tariffs on imports from China could prompt a response in kind from Beijing, which could affect U.S. exports of agricultural goods in particular. A Reuters article quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang as saying that “China resolutely opposes any kind of unilateral protectionist trade measures” and will “have to take measures to firmly protect our legitimate rights” if the U.S. acts to harm China’s interests.

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