Weeks after announcing new tariffs on steel and aluminum, the Trump administration is reportedly setting its sight on China with new tariffs aimed at penalizing the country for intellectual property theft that the president will announce on Thursday.
Like so many other policies the administration has enacted, this one appears to be far from fully realized.
Both the timing of the announcement and scope of the tariffs are in flux. The president has pushed for tariffs on $60 billion in goods. But by law, the penalties must be limited to the amount of harm the U.S. trade representative finds the unfair trade practices have done to the U.S. economy.
The new policy is reportedly being designed to inflict as much damage on China as possible while limiting the effect on U.S. consumers, however the tariffs will not limit Chinese student visas or Chinese investment in the U.S.
The items that might be targeted range from clothing and footwear to consumer electronics. The administration has reportedly used an algorithm to decide which products will be affected.
According to Axios, while the plan is being finalized, it was actually done through a fairly normal process, even though President Trump was involved in his characteristic fashion.
This wasn’t Trump interceding like he did with the steel and aluminum tariffs, though he did tell his team that their original figure of $30 billion in tariffs against China wasn’t big enough and they needed to get him a bigger number.
That sounds about right.