U.S. Levies Another Tariff on China-Made Goods

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Last week, the United States levied a 25-percent tariff on goods imported from China, including copier and printer parts. China retaliated with its own tariffs on U.S. goods, mainly agricultural products, worth $34 billion. Today, the United States retaliated, with the U.S. Trade Office (USTO) releasing a statement today stating that the administration is preparing for another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion, ramping up the US-China trade war.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released a list of thousands of additional goods that could face 10-percent tariffs after a public comment period. The list includes fruit and vegetables, chemicals, wood, fabric, and many other items, including paper, envelopes, photographic film, photographic paper, and black printing ink, as well as:

  • Electrostatic photocopying apparatus, operating by reproducing the original image via an intermediate onto the copy (indirect process)
  • Photocopying apparatus, other than electrostatic, incorporating an optical system
  • Photocopying apparatus, other than electrostatic, of the contact type
  • Parts of fax machines

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued the following statement:

“As a result of China’s retaliation and failure to change its practices, the President has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China’s harmful industrial policies. USTR will proceed with a transparent and comprehensive public notice and comment process prior to the imposition of final tariffs, as we have for previous tariffs.

“On August 14, 2017, President Trump instructed USTR to begin the Section 301 process.  For many years, China has pursued abusive trading practices with regard to intellectual property and innovation.  USTR conducted a thorough investigation over an 8-month period, including public hearings and submissions.  In a detailed 200-page report, USTR found that China has been engaging in industrial policy which has resulted in the transfer and theft of intellectual property and technology to the detriment of our economy and the future of our workers and businesses.”

Our Take

Coincidentally or not, Ricoh of Japan issued a press release on July 12th denying media reports that it’s constructing a new factory in China. Earlier in June, Kyocera Document Solutions of Japan reported that it’s expanding its factory for production of copier/MFPs and printers in Vietnam (see here). Seiko Epson of Japan also reported that it’s completed construction of a new inkjet-printer factory in Japan. While many vendors have spread out their manufacturing – mainly in Asia-Pacific – in order to disaster-proof their operations in the event of natural events such as the earthquake that hit Japan several years ago, might we continue to see vendors moving production out of China if the U.S.-China trade war continues? Stay tuned.

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