The US and China threaten high-stakes trade war

Trump Xi

This week the Trump administration announced that Chinese imports of over 1,300 products worth an estimated $50bn per year would be subject to a 25% import tariff on entering the US, in retaliation for what it alleges has been decades of intellectual property theft from the superpower.

Within 12 hours, China responded in kind with a list of 106 American products, also estimated to be worth around $50bn per year, that would attract the same 25% import tariff if the US was to instigate its plans.

The US list of tariffs on Chinese imports includes medical devices, batteries, meat and food processing machinery, defence munitions, dishwashers and golf carts. The Chinese list of intended tariffs on US imports includes soybeans, corn, wheat and other agricultural products, tobacco, whiskey and aircraft.

Both countries have tried to ‘hit where it hurts’ in their respective lists of taxed products, with the US list of imports targeting hi-tech and advanced manufacturing sectors that the Chinese government is trying to encourage and invest in, and the Chinese list of taxed imports including soybeans which is America’s biggest agricultural export to China worth an estimated $14bn a year alone.

These tariffs haven’t been imposed on either side yet, with the US undergoing a consultancy period before they confirm their actions, and China saying their actions will depend on the US in what is becoming a rather high stakes game of cat and mouse.

This declaration by Trump appears to follow on from his election promise to take a tough stance on China, but with China refusing to concede anything in this particular battle, both countries’ economies could suffer if these tariffs are imposed.

For any aspect of Intellectual Property advice and overall strategy, please get in touch with the ip21 team.

Richard Jones, Business Relationship Manager for ip21 Ltd.