Aug 23, 2019

China announces retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China announced Friday that it would levy retaliatory tariffs ranging from 5% to 10% on $75 billion of U.S. goods in two batches on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, per CNBC.

Why it matters, via Axios' Dan Primack: Expectations were that the markets would be focused primarily on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech in Jackson Hole this morning, but this news will refocus investors on trade.

  • The tariffs are a direct response to President Trump's announcement earlier this month that the U.S. would levy 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of U.S. imports from China on Sept. 1 — with some of those tariffs pushed back to Dec. 15 to account for the holiday season.

The big picture: China's announcement also included news that it would increase its tariffs on U.S. automobiles back to 25% on Dec. 15. It had slashed those tariffs to 15% — in line with its imports from other countries — last December after progress on the issue during talks between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20.

  • Dow futures had been green all morning, but flipped to red on the news of the tariffs.

The state of play: As Axios' Jonathan Swan reported, the biggest tool Trump has to pump the economy and the markets is a trade deal with China. But if anything, senior administration officials have turned harder against China in recent weeks thanks to national security concerns in Hong Kong and Taiwan — and these retaliatory tariffs aren't going to help.

Go deeper: Trump's China bind

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