European companies that export from China are changing the global flow of their goods to avoid higher American tariffs, a business group said Tuesday, in a sign of the spreading impact of the US-Chinese trade war. But the new tariffs will not be imposed until the end of a two-month public comment period.
The new list would mark the latest escalation of the trade war between the world's two biggest economies.
The list could be released as soon as Tuesday, and likely this week, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter isn't public.
Trump said last week the United States may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of US imports from China previous year. "There is no justification for such action", he said in a statement. Industry groups have also highlighted the duties' potential to derail US economic growth.
The Trump administration said it cracked down on China for a range of trade practices involving intellectual property and technology that cost USA companies an estimated $50 billion annually.
More than 6,031 product lines are affected by the proposed tariffs, including seafood, fruits and vegetables, grains, tobacco, auto rearview mirrors and burglar alarms. The trade war could also jeopardize China's help in confronting North Korea's nuclear program.
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Chinese authorities implemented tit-for-tat tariffs on key USA exports into China, including some major agricultural products.
The U.S.is now considering levying duties on a further $16 billion in Chinese goods, after a public hearing later this month.
Trump's implementation of tariffs against China as well as allies such as the European Union, Canada and Mexico have been met with denunciations both overseas and at home from trade-friendly lawmakers.
Beijing, meanwhile, has unveiled measures to help Chinese companies absorb the USA trade blows, pledging to funnel money collected from its own import levies to firms and workers tangled in the escalating trade war. But Mr Trump hasn't backed down, arguing that China's unfair trading practices are hurting American workers.
"For companies that are severely impacted, we suggest they report to local government departments", the Commerce Ministry said in a statement Monday.