The list, which was published online by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), itemised cosmetics goods such as beauty powders, organic cosmetics, shampoos and soaps. Included in the 194-page document were ingredients needed to manufacture make up and skin care as well.
In its official statement, USTR stated that the action was in response to “China’s theft of American intellectual property and forced transfer of American technology”.
Through a statement, US President Donald Trump said, “As President, it is my duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself. My Administration will not remain idle when those interests are under attack.”
Beijing fires back
In response, China’s Ministry of Commerce has announced that it would impose additional tariffs the same day the US taxes take effect.
In August, Beijing planned to add an additional 5% on talc, mica powder, zinc oxide and titanium oxide originating from the US.
Lipstick, fragrances, face powders and hair brushes were among goods that will be charged with an extra duty of 10%.
In a statement by China’s Ministry of Commerce on September 18, China said it had no choice but to take countermeasures to “safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and the global free trade order”.
In his statement, Trump warned that if China were to retaliate, the US would not hesitate to tax even more imports. “If China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.”
US interest “under attack”
In his statement, Trump explained that this action was a result of a “thorough study” by USTR which concluded that China was engaged in numerous unfair policies and practices relating to US technology and intellectual property.
He went on to accuse China of forcing US companies to transfer technology to its Chinese counterparts.
Trump stated that the White House had given Beijing enough opportunity to put a stop to its “unfair practices”.
”We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices,” said Trump.
Before the latest round of blows, the two countries were in the midst of preparing to hold a round of negotiations. However, it is now unclear if these bilateral talks will come to fruition.
“The US insists on increasing tariffs, which brings new uncertainty to the consultations between the two sides,” the country’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told the media during a press conference.
“The Chinese side has been stressing that dialogue and consultation on the basis of equality, good faith and mutual respect make the only viable way out for the China-US trade issues,” he continued. “However, everything the US does for now gives no impression of sincerity or goodwill.”
However, Trump implied that he was open to continue negotiations, telling the press after the tariff announcement that the two countries may “make a deal at some point”.
“We’re doing a very good job with China,” Trump insisted. “China has been taking advantage of the United States for a very long time, and that’s not happening anymore.”
Despite the choice words and strong statements coming out of Beijing, Trump insisted that he had a “great relationship” with President Xi Jinping, and that he considered Xi a “great friend”.
Largest trade partner
According to USTR’s own website, the US imported $505.5bn worth of goods from China in 2017, while $129.9bn of exports were sent to China. In total, an estimated $635.4bn of goods were exchanged between the two countries.
This makes China the country’s supplier of goods in 2017. USTR states that its latest 2015 data estimates that the export trade supported 601,000 jobs.