US expected to impose up to $121 billion in China tariffs

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is expected to unveil up to $US60 billion ($F121b) in new tariffs on Chinese imports by Friday, targeting technology, telecommunications and intellectual property, two officials briefed on the matter said Monday.

One business source, who has discussed the issue with the administration, said that the China tariffs may be subject to a public comment period, which would delay their effective date and allow industry groups and companies to lodge objections.

This would be considerably different from the quick implementation of the steel and aluminum tariffs, which are set to go into effect on March 23, just 15 days after President Donald Trump signed the proclamations.

A delayed approach could allow time for negotiations with Beijing to try to resolve trade issues related to the administration’s “Section 301” probe into China’s intellectual property practices before tariffs take effect.

The White House declined to comment Monday. China has vowed to take retaliatory measures in response.

Reuters first reported on the $US60b ($F121b) in tariffs last week. A source who had direct knowledge of the administration’s thinking told Reuters last week that the tariffs, authorised under the 1974 US Trade Act, would be chiefly targeted at information technology, consumer electronics and telecoms and other products benefiting from US intellectual property.