Trump administration exempts hundreds of Chinese products from tariffs

U.S. consumer products are sold at an International supermarket in Beijing amid the U.S.-China trade war on Thursday. Hundreds of Chinese goods will be excluded from tariffs, three notices set to be published on the Federal Register Friday show. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Sept. 19 (UPI) — The Trump administration has excluded hundreds of Chinese goods from tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods, three notices set to be published in the Federal Register on Friday show.

Listed products on three notices are to be excluded from a 25 percent duty imposed on the $250 billion worth of Chinese goods. The duty may increase to 30 percent by Oct. 15, President Donald Trump said last week.

The exclusions are less about placating Bejing than about providing some relief to U.S. companies who say they are harmed by Trump’s tariff’s and cannot find an alternative supply source, Politico reported.

Christmas tree lights, single-speed bikes, electric-powered skateboards, X-ray tables, three-wheeled carriages used by people with disabilities, various types of pumps, household water filter cartridges, dog leashes, and plastic drinking straws are among hundreds of products on the lists of tariff exclusions.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the RSM U.S. LLP released a quarterly survey report Thursday that showed 40 percent of mid-size businesses cite negative effects from the trade war.

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“Rising tariffs and policy uncertainty are preventing midsize businesses — who employ millions of Americans — from investing and growing,” said Neil Bradley, Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief policy officer. “To guard against a possible recession, policymakers need to restore economic certainty, and that means deescalating trade tensions with China, passing USMCA (United States-Mexico Canada Agreement) and investing in the future through an infrastructure package.”

The exclusions come as Michael Pillsbury, a director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., who Trump has called a “leading authority on China,” said in an interview in Hong Kong on Thursday that the trade war could escalate if a deal isn’t reached soon.

“Does the president have options to escalate the trade war? Yes, the tariffs can be raised higher. These are low level tariffs that could go to 50 percent or 100 percent,” Pillsbury said.

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