As widely expected, and as he himself previewed earlier in the day, Trump was set to unveil a major development in the US-China trade war this afternoon. That happened moments ago, when the president, in a series of 4 tweets, confirmed that he indeed was hiking tariffs on both existing and future China tariffs.
Specifically, Trump announced that in response to the $75 billion in tariffs that China just imposed on the US this morning – which “should not have” been put on as they were “politically motivated” – starting October 1, the existing 25% tariffs on $250BN in Chinese goods would rise to 30%, and the 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods set to begin on September 1 will be 15%.
Here is the Trump announcement:
For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade, Intellectual Property Theft, and much more.
Our Country has been losing HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year to China, with no end in sight.
Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer.
As President, I can no longer allow this to happen! In the spirit of achieving Fair Trade, we must Balance this very unfair Trading Relationship.
China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!).
Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25%, will be taxed at 30%.
Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10%, will now be taxed at 15%. Thank you for your attention to this matter!
Of course, all of this was perfectly predictable the moment Jerome Powell underwrote Trump’s trade war, when he said on July 31 the Fed is now focusing on “global developments”, effectively assuring he would keep cutting rates the more trade war between the US and China escalated.
And now we await China’s retaliation as Beijing has no choice but to retaliate again in tit-for-tat fashion, and is likely to hike the rate on its own tariffs targeting US goods, which will then prompt Trump to raise tariffs even more, at which point China will retaliate in kind, until eventually all trade between the US and China grinds to a halt, at which point the question is which country will succumb to recession and/or social unrest first.
Meanwhile, the real news this afternoon, is that there was still no announcement of currency intervention by Trump, or rather not yet. We expect that to come some time in the next 2-4 weeks.