President Trump has announced a further 10% tariff increase on $200bn worth of imports from China. This tariff, which will affect goods entering the US from next week, will however exclude the new Apple Watch, among other Apple products.
China has already announced its plans to retaliate.
Trump has railed against what he considers unfair behavior by China since his candidacy, although what exactly he means by "unfair behavior" remains vague. Upon the announcement, the US President stated: "For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies. We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly.
"But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices," he added.
Despite some agreement that Chinese trade practices could be more equitable, it has been generally agreed upon by most economists that a trade war between the two nations is not an effective way to remedy the situation. Many economists believe the trade war will cause a drag on the global economy since the US and China are the world's two biggest economies. It is also agreed that these measures will likely hurt the American people who will likely have the tariff's cost burden passed to them.
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This is potentially what led the US Consumer Technology Association to announce a list of consumer products which would be exempt from the tariff list. This included the Apple Watch and Apple's earbuds as well as Fitbit products. This is despite a previous announcement by Trump that Apple should simply "open more American plants" if concerned about tariff increases.
However, this has done nothing to stem fears of the impact of inevitable retaliatory tariffs on US products by the Chinese government. Some experts, such as Alibaba Group's Jack Ma, have claimed the dispute would be "a mess" for all involved and predicted the trade war may last 20 years.
With more announced to be on their way by the end of the year, raising the total tariffs cost to 25%, Trump seems set on his tactic. Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of China's Securities Regulator, voiced China's position: "President Trump is a hard-hitting businessman, and he tries to put pressure on China so he can get concessions from our negotiations. I think that kind of tactic is not going to work with China."