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According to reporting by Reuters, the latest round of tariffs from the US targeting China seeks to alleviate some of the damage dealt to specific US tech consumer sectors as the Trump administration seeks to steepen the broiling US-China trade war.

Key quotes

“Trump, in a statement announcing the new round of tariffs, warned that if China takes retaliatory action against U.S. farmers or industries, “we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.”

So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products to pressure China to make sweeping changes to its trade, technology transfer and high-tech industrial subsidy policies.

The escalation of Trump’s tariffs on China comes after talks between the world’s two largest economies to resolve their trade differences have produced no results. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week invited top Chinese officials to a new round of talks, but thus far nothing has been scheduled.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office eliminated about 300 product categories from the proposed tariff list, along with some subsets of other categories, but administration officials said the total value of the revised list would still be “approximately $200 billion.”

A broad, $23 billion category of internet-connected devices will remain subject to tariffs, but some products, such as smart watches, Bluetooth devices, and other consumer-focused technology products were removed following a lengthy public vetting period during which more than 6,000 comments were received.

Also spared from the tariffs were Chinese inputs for U.S.-produced chemicals used in manufacturing, textiles and agriculture.  

“President Trump’s decision to impose an additional $200 billion is reckless and will create lasting harm to communities across the country,” said Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents major tech firms.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association pointed out that the new tariffs would still hit more than $1 billion worth of gas grills from China, $843 million worth of luggage and travel bags, $825 million worth of mattresses, and $1.9 billion worth of vacuum cleaners.

“Tariffs are a tax on American families, period,” said Hun Quach,” RILA’s vice president for international trade. “Consumers – not China – will bear the brunt of these tariffs and American farmers and ranchers will see the harmful effects of retaliation worsen.” “

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