This Friday on June 15, the United States is expected to release the final list of Chinese products that will be affected by a 25% tariff increase. It will most likely reflect the original announcement by the USTR with some tailoring and modifications. At that point, the tariffs would be ready for activation, but ultimately, President Trump will decide whether to impose them.

A brief timeline

  • August 2017. Under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, President Trump asked the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to investigate China’s unfair trade practices, focusing on intellectual property rights.
  • March 2018. The USTR released its report on China, stating that the country was conducting unfair trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation. The U.S. responded by announcing new rules on investment and initiating a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China’s licensing practices, now case DS542.
  • April 2018. There was a flurry of escalating activity regarding tariff increases. After the U.S. announced additional tariffs on steel and aluminum (separately under the Section 232 investigation), China imposed tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. imports. The USTR immediately returned the action with a proposed 25% tariff increase on $50 billion in Chinese goods. The next day, China announced the same. China also initiated a case with the WTO over U.S. Section 301 tariffs, now case DS542.
  • May 2018. Both sides agreed to temporarily put the trade war “on hold.” China agreed to significantly increase purchases of U.S. goods and services, thereby reducing the trade deficit. Later in the month, the U.S. surprised international groups by announcing that it would move ahead with the 25% tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. China responded that if the U.S. launched the tariffs or other sanctions, “then all the economic and trade benefits negotiated by both sides [would] not take effect."
  • June 2018. The U.S. announced that it would impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods once the final list of covered imports was published on June 15.

Preparing for change

As import tariffs rise around the world, many companies are pursuing new technology to optimize savings and gain efficiency in their global operations, all while achieving complete visibility into the impact of tariff changes. Implementing a global trade management (GTM) solution can help companies improve compliance, increase supply chain speed, and protect their bottom line.

You can read more about the Section 301 investigation and U.S.-China trade relations on CNN, South China Morning Post, Global Trade Magazine, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.