In a case of antagonizing the largest trading partner of the US, President Donald Trump has expressed his wish to impose “hefty tariffs” on goods being imported from China with an estimated total worth of over 50 billion dollars. China immediately responded to this statement with a statement to do the same. Strangely enough, most analysts who commented on this move said that they saw no real impact of tariffs on China, whose ability to cater to the voracious appetite of the US Economy and its consumers base as a producer of goods will prove to be of much greater impact than the revenue or political points to be gained from such an exercise.
The US Trade Representative’s office (USTR) has targeted imports of over 250 products, mostly in the area of semiconductors and other electronic items. This seems to be a direct attempt to negatively impact Chinese production paradigms that aim to bring it on par with global leaders in such technologies by becoming more competitive. Ironically, most semiconductor technology produced in China makes us of chips that are produced in the US, leading the Semiconductor Industry Association to release a statement about the “counter-productive” nature of these tariffs.
This latest spate of threatened tariffs comes in the wake of talks earlier this year between the US and China, where attempts to reach a compromise on the overall position of trade balance between the two nations fell through. In addition, the US seems to be on a war path with many of its closest allies as well, imposing tariffs on steel coming into the country from EU countries and Canada.