US President Donald Trump has approved tariffs worth $50 billion on import of goods from China. A formal announcement in this regard is expected to be made by the US Trade Representatives today with a notification in the Federal Register in the coming weeks. The move is likely to attract retaliatory action by China.
Trump's approval in this regard followed a 90-minute meeting he had with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representatives Robert Lighthizer yesterday. The meeting also included representatives of the National Security Council.
Following the decision, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said tariffs must be seen as one tool among many the US could use to hold bad actors like China accountable and bring the Chinese government to the table to secure a more favourable balance of trade.
"We cannot allow the recent chaos to continue and risk further damage to our standing in the world. That is why I am calling on President Trump to fight for American jobs with a comprehensive strategy that puts American economic interests front and centre," she said.
DeLauro said the Trump Commerce Department's disorderly implementation of trade enforcement tools failed to inspire confidence in the President's ability to appropriately hold the trading partners accountable.
"That is why I will continue to call for a meaningful strategy to address our deep trade deficit with China that has led to outsourcing of well-paying American jobs," she said.
"To make matters worse, President Trump rolled back sanctions on Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE after the company sold critical technology to Iran and North Korea, and lied to US security officials about it. President Trump should be focused on American jobs, not China's," the lawmaker said.
A Wall Street Journal report warned that the US decision could become the start of a tit-for-tat series of retaliatory moves. If the US hits China with tariffs, China will immediately retaliate with tariffs, said a Chinese official. "We hate unilateral actions," the official was quoted as saying.