WASHINGTON, Jan 30 — US President Donald Trump has rattled the world trade order by imposing unilateral tariffs to combat what he calls unfair trade practices by China, the European Union and other major trading partners of the United States.
The actions led to tit-for-tat retaliation, including a tariff war with China that Washington and Beijing are trying find a way out of in talks this week. Here is a rundown of major US tariff actions and retaliatory measures in the past year.
US global tariffs
25 per cent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent tariffs on imported aluminum, imposed on March 23 on national security grounds. Exemptions have been granted to Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea in exchange for quotas, and negotiations over quotas continue with Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
20 per cent to 50 per cent tariffs on imported washing machines, imposed January 22 as a “global safeguard” action to protect US producers Whirlpool Corp and GE Appliances, a unit of China’s Haier Electronics Group Co Ltd
30 per cent tariffs on imported solar panels, imposed January 22 as a “global safeguard” action to protect US producers Solar World, based in Germany, and Suniva, owned by China’s Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd
Trump is considering tariffs of around 25 per cent on imported cars and auto parts, based on a US Commerce Department study of whether such imports threaten US national security.
The new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal protects Canadian and Mexican production in the event of such tariffs through a quota system. Trump has pledged not to impose auto tariffs on Japan and the European Union while trade negotiations with those partners are underway.
US tariffs on China
25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion (RM205.4 billion) worth of Chinese technology goods including machinery, semiconductors, autos, aircraft parts and intermediate electronics components imposed July 6 and August 23 as part of “Section 301” probe into China’s intellectual property practices.
10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods including chemicals, building materials, furniture and some consumer electronics, imposed September 24 as a response to Chinese retaliation. The levy on these imports is scheduled to increase to 25 per cent on March 2 if negotiations between the United States and China fail to produce a deal to resolve their trade dispute.
If an agreement with China cannot be reached, Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on an additional US$267 billion worth of Chinese goods, representing all remaining imports from China, including cell phones, computers, clothing, footwear and other consumer products.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said today that Trump has directed him to pursue all tools to raise the US tariff rate on Chinese autos to the 40 percent that China is now charging on cars and trucks built in the United States. The United States charges 27.5 per cent tariffs on Chinese vehicles.
Chinese tariffs on US
25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion worth of US goods including soybeans, beef, pork, seafood, vegetables, whiskey, ethanol, imposed July 6 and August 23 in retaliation for initial rounds of US tariffs. China has suspended a 25 per cent duty on US auto imports during their trade negotiations. Beijing has resumed some purchases of US soybeans but has not formally suspended those tariffs.
Tariffs of 5 per cent to 10 per cent on US$60 billion worth of US goods, including liquefied natural gas, chemicals, frozen vegetables and food ingredients, imposed September 24.
Based on 2017 US Census Bureau trade data, China only would have about US$20 billion in US imports left to levy in retaliation for any future US tariffs, of which US$16 billion were commercial aircraft, largely built by Boeing Co. Retaliation could come in other forms, such as increased regulatory hurdles for US companies doing business in China.
Canadian tariffs on US
Canada on July 1 imposed tariffs on US$12.6 billion worth of US goods, including steel, aluminum, coffee, ketchup and bourbon whiskey in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.
Mexican tariffs on US
Mexico on June 5 imposed tariffs of up to 25 per cent on American steel, pork, cheese, apples, potatoes and bourbon, in retaliation for US tariffs on Mexican metals.
European Union tariffs on US
The European Union on June 22 imposed import duties of 25 per cent on a US$2.8 billion range of imports from the United States in retaliation for US tariffs on European steel and aluminum. Targeted US products include Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon, peanuts, blue jeans, steel and aluminum.
India, the world’s biggest buyer of US almonds, on June 21 raised import duties on the nuts by 20 per cent and increased tariffs on a range of other farm products and US iron and steel, in retaliation for US tariffs on Indian steel. — Reuters