New Tariffs on China: Where does the American consumer fit in?

On Thursday, President Trump unveiled new trade restrictions on China that would block $50 billion in Chinese exports from entering the United States, according to Politico. Trump claimed the restrictions will “make us a much stronger, much richer nation.” The Trump administration created these restrictions as “punishment for Beijing’s intellectual property practices.” The targets of the restrictions are Chinese technology companies who, according to the administration, are forcefully taking from U.S. companies. The White House also plans to add “25 percent additional tariffs on certain products that are supported by China’s unfair industrial policy.”

These new restrictions are just the first step that the White House plans to take to “counter Chinese policies that U.S. technology companies argue force them to surrender billions of dollars in intellectual property and other proprietary information to gain access to China’s state-controlled economy.” Trump claims that the U.S. and China are in the midst of a very serious negotiation. He also wants to restrict Chinese companies from investing in certain sectors of the U.S. economy.

On Capitol Hill, there has been a cautious reaction from lawmakers. They support “cracking down on China but not at the expense of U.S. businesses and consumers.” Sen. Orrin Hatch said that his continued support is “contingent on the president choosing an appropriate remedy.” Rep. Kevin Brady, House Ways and Means Chairman, urged Trump to find a remedy that does not impose new taxes on products Americans buy.

Chinese retaliation is inevitable, especially in soybeans, aircrafts and other exports. However, Trump still believes he is coming through on his campaign promise to remedy Chinese “trade abuses,” no matter what the cost to the American consumer. The Trump administration uses China’s “Made in China 2025” plan as a central point in their argument to limit technological trade with China. The plan aims to “support growth in advanced industries and technologies, such as biopharmaceuticals, robotics and artificial intelligence, electric vehicles and next-generation telecommunications.”

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