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US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose a 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports, in response to China’s tit-for-tat retaliation against the tariff on $50 billion worth of goods the US has already imposed.

The Trump administration argues that the tariffs are necessary to address a trade deficit as a result of years of unfair trade practises in favour of Chinese businesses. Trump has also slapped steel and aluminium tariffs on the US’ supposed allies—Canada, Mexico, and the EU—in part because he believes Chinese goods are shipped through these countries to avoid existing tariffs.

In response to the threats, China’s state newspaper has called the Trump administration “rude, unreasonable and selfish.”

New tariffs apply to semiconductors

“If the US suffers a loss of rationality and issues a [list of tariffs], China will have to adopt strong countermeasures, which will be comprehensive measures combining quantity and quality,” warned China’s commerce ministry.

Trump’s claims that his overarching protectionist policies will help to boost domestic manufacturing and industry in the US are not widely supported by industry bodies.

The US Semiconductor Industry Association said the tariffs would affect “semiconductors from China, most of which are actually researched, designed, and manufactured in the US.”

FedEx, a company that has traditionally been a staunch advocate of free trade, has described the US tariffs as “counterproductive to U.S. economic interests” and reiterated that “FedEx supports lowering trade barriers for our customers.”

(Source: Financial Times, Reuters)

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