Trump proposes $50 Billion in Tariffs Against China for Stealing Intellectual Property

President Trump is proposing 25% tariffs on 1300 Chinese imports which, if actually collected, would be $50 billion. This is said to be in retaliation for theft of intellectual property from US companies. The list of imports includes steel and metals used in oil and gas pipelines as well as nuclear materials and reactors for power plants. This could upset the US nuclear industry that is planning to build 100 nuclear plants in China by 2030.

[If this proposal is implemented, the quantity of imports will drop as their prices rise to cover the added cost of import tax. US companies will pay the tariff as part of higher prices.  Some of this then will be passed back to China in the form of higher prices for construction of its nuclear plants. Part will be paid by Americans for higher prices for domestic products that use the imported materials. We expect that this proposal will not materialize as currently being discussed.] -GEG

The Trump administration has proposed slapping retaliatory tariffs on 1,300 Chinese imports in response to the country’s continued theft of intellectual property from U.S. companies.

That lists includes, steel and metals used in oil and gas pipelines as well as nuclear materials and reactors for power plants. The proposed tariffs would impact $50 billion worth of imports, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Trump has a more aggressive stance on trade with China than his predecessors, arguing the gaping trade deficit with the Asian giant needs to be closed. Trump also criticized China’s theft of intellectual property.

Now, Trump is targeting nuclear energy industry imports from China, including uranium (U-235), reactor components and machinery to separate isotopes. The U.S. gets a very small percentage of its uranium from China, so the tariffs in this area probably won’t have much effect.

What could upset the U.S. nuclear industry is retaliation from China, which is planning to build at least 100 nuclear plants through 2030 to reduce its reliance on coal power. China is largely dependent on foreign imports of uranium and equipment to build nuclear plants.

China is trying to become more self-sufficient in nuclear technology, but “ample opportunities exist for U.S. industry, including fuel cycle, nuclear components, and services related to nuclear power in China,” according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

U.S. companies supplied China with about 30 percent of its enriched uranium imports in 2015, according to government data.

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