US President Donald Trump is preparing to raise tariffs on Chinese imports to 25 percent from the current 15 percent.
The levies will affect approximately $350 billion worth of Chinese exports to America.
Trump made the announcement through Twitter. He tweeted: “For 10 months, China has been paying tariffs to the USA of 25 percent on $50 billion dollars of high-tech, and 10 percent on $200 billion of other goods.
“These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10 percent will go up to 25 percent on Friday. $325 billion of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25 percent.
“The tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The trade deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”
The consequences of Trump’s existing tariffs on the Chinese economy are reported to have been severe over the past few months. Shares on the Shanghai stock exchange have tumbled more than 5 percent and significant sectors of the manufacturing sector are considering relocating their operations overseas.
The Chinese government has set aside more than $40 billion to help small businesses offset possible losses caused by the increased tariffs, according to a report in South China Morning Post.
Hong Kong, the reason which does the most business with the US, is said to be braced for a turbulent period in the stormy climate between the two countries.
Local business leaders in Hong Kong say that the tariffs generally do not affect the US and the increased costs are borne by Chinese companies.
The US and China are currently in talks to try and reach a trade deal, but Trump’s latest abrupt announcement may mean that it may be many months before an agreement is finally reached.
As quoted in the South China Morning Post, Willy Lin Sun-mo, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, said: “The sudden change creates a headache for Hong Kong exporters … It looks like it will be an even longer road before a deal is reached.”