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Trump’s 15 percent tariffs on $112 bln in Chinese goods take effect

Published: Updated:

The Trump administration’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese imports took effect early Sunday, potentially raising prices Americans pay for some clothes, shoes, sporting goods and other consumer goods in advance of the holiday shopping season.

The 15 percent taxes apply to about $112 billion of Chinese imports. All told, more than two-thirds of the consumer goods the United States imports from China now face higher taxes. The administration had largely avoided hitting consumer items in its earlier rounds of tariff hikes.

As part of its retaliation, Beijing will begin imposing a five percent tariff on US crude oil from Sept. 1, the first time US oil has been targeted since the world’s two largest economies started their trade war more than a year ago.

US President Donald Trump last month said he was increasing existing and planned tariffs by five percent on about $550 billion worth of Chinese imports after Beijing announced its own retaliatory tariffs on US goods.

Tariffs of 15 percent on cellphones, laptop computers, toys and clothing are to take effect on Dec. 15. The US Trade Representative’s Office said on Thursday it would collect public comments through Sept. 20 on a planned tariff increase to 30 percent on a $250 billion list of goods already hit with a 25 percent tariff.

Trade teams from China and the United States continue to talk and will meet in September, but tariff increases on Chinese goods set to go in place on Sunday will not be delayed, Trump said on Friday.

For two years, the Trump administration has sought to pressure China to make sweeping changes to its policies on intellectual property protection, forced transfers of technology to Chinese firms, industrial subsidies and market access.

China has consistently denied Washington’s accusations that it engages in unfair trade practices, vowing to fight back in kind and criticizing US measures as protectionist.

China has pressed the United States to cancel the tariff increase, but said last week that a September round of talks was being discussed between the two.

The trade war further strains Beijing-Washington ties, already overshadowed by US freedom of navigation exercises near Chinese-occupied islands in the disputed South China Sea, and US support for self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which China claims as its own.