US Retail Giants Write To Trump Seeking Relief On China Tariffs

Trump intends to impose duties of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum imports

The Trump administration is expected to unveil up to US$60 billion (S$79 billion) in new tariffs on Chinese imports by Friday.

The president has rattled markets and sparked fears of a trade war with the threat of tariffs, which will hit products from Chinese-made or assembled electronics to clothing.

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25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum - he exempted Mexico and Canada, at least temporarily, and said other nations could negotiate with the White House to get out of paying duties on tens of billions of dollars' worth of imports.

'There is still broad room for us to further open up, ' said Li.

The EU has said it plans to impose safeguards but has not said how comprehensive they would be.

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Talks could commence soon with Brazil, he added, noting that Washington hoped to resolve the issue of exemptions by the end of April. According to news reports, Trump received a specific warning from his national security advisers and it reportedly said in all caps "DO NOT CONGRATULATE". He is determined to bring down the US trade deficit with China, which reached $375 billion past year.

In 2017, the United States imported 34.6 million metric tons of steel from 85 countries.

As in Newtonian physics, for each action through major tariff measures, there can be an "equal and opposite" reaction, not only in counter tariffs but also in the altered purchasing patterns of major enterprises in the affected nations, particular by state-owned or highly regulated enterprises in those nations, such as major airlines that buy "big ticket" USA -made planes and their equipment and related services.

US tariffs on aluminum and steel imports will add thousands of jobs at domestic producers, offsetting labor losses in other industries, while economic growth will slow by a tiny percentage, according to the Coalition for a Prosperous America. "There is no argument that will justify these measures being taken", he said in an interview.

In his remarks, Li pledged to slash tariffs for "day-to-day" consumer goods, phase in zero tariffs for imported drugs especially cancer drugs, and even relax access to service sectors such as elderly care, health care, education and finance. Lighthizer said that talks were under way with the European Union, Argentina and Australia.

"This looks much more like a President who is excessively eager to apply tariffs than a well-calculated move to defend American interests", said Phil Levy, who was a trade advisor to President George W. Bush.

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