Trump Proposes More Tariffs on Chinese Products

March 23, 2018

President Donald Trump is stepping up his tough talk on trade with action, and has asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify Chinese products that should be subject to tariffs.

At this point, we don't know if tires will be on the list.

On March 22 the president gave Lighthizer 15 days to publish the list of products that will be subject to the additional tariffs. That list will be published in the Federal Register, along with a timeline for parties to submit comments on the proposed tariff action. Comments will be due 30 days from the date of publication.

The notice also will include the date of a public hearing on the issue.

Of course, passenger and light truck tires from China are already subject to tariffs — though the rates tire makers and importers will pay were recently lowered. An effort to impose tariffs on medium truck and bus tires from China was surprisingly overturned in 2017 when the International Trade Commission voted against imposing tariffs.

In his remarks on March 22, Trump cited America’s trade deficit with China. “I’ve been speaking with the highest Chinese representatives, including the President (Xi Jingping), and I’ve asked them to reduce the trade deficit immediately by $100 billion.  It’s a lot.  So that would be anywhere from 25%, depending on the way you figure, to maybe something even more than that.  But we have to do that.”

Trump said the tariffs could be “about $60 billion, but that’s really just a fraction of what we’re talking about.”

The U.S. Trade Representative office has published a fact sheet, as well as a lengthy report on the ways that China’s trade policies and actions related to intellectual property harm U.S. businesses.