Washington, DC – The US–China trade war is escalating, with products used in polyurethane among many more items set to attract US import tariffs. This is in addition to those products on which tariffs have already been imposed.
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) is now proposing to charge an extra 10% duty on a further list of products with an annual trade value of about $200 bn. These products are covered by more than 6000 tariff headings in the US goods listing system.
The initial tariffs were aimed at trade worth $50 bn/year. They were designed to raise 'concerns with China’s acts, policies, and practices involving technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation’, USTR claimed.
The US first listed tariffs on Chinese goods in the Federal Register on 20 June as the countries started to square up to each other.
Instead, China has responded by imposing retaliatory duties, USTR said. It says more tariffs are justified because China keeps ignoring unfair trade practices.
The long list of new tariff headings includes chemicals relevant to the polyurethane industry. These include TDI, MDI, a number of other isocyanates, and blowing agents.
The list also features textiles that are impregnated, laminated, covered or coated with polyurethane.
USTR has asked for comment on its additional list by the end of July, with a public hearing scheduled for August 2018.
The American Chemistry Council has slammed the announcement.
It described the proposals as 'a stunning and unfortunate development for US manufacturers and consumers'.
'Unilateral actions that alienate long-standing US allies and close off the US market to the rest of the world are not a recipe for prosperity and are very unlikely to change China’s unfair practices.
‘As an industry that touches 96% of all manufactured goods and which has much to gain from a productive, respectful trading relationship with China. ACC and our members remain hopeful that the US and China can resolve their differences and prevent further harm to US manufacturers and consumers. We strongly urge the administration to create a strong, multilateral coalition to bring an end to this unnecessary trade war.’
The full list of proposed tariff headings can be found by following this link to the USTR website.