US places tech tariff on China, but smartphones are not affected

As part of President Donald Trump’s trade agenda, the United States has launched another volley of tariffs — this time on China.

The White House has announced a 25 percent levy on technology-related products worth around $50 billion. 818 items making up $34 billion of the tally are affected in a first wave of notices with most of them relating to industrial durable goods such as aircraft turbines, isotopes, centrifuges. 284 more items are proposed to be taxed. Companies wishing to import any affected products will soon have to apply for exclusions.

The good news for mobile tech fans? None of the items directly relate to the import of smartphones, tablets and smartwatches from China. However, there is a tariff on “parts & accessories for machines […] used to make printed circuits […] parts of [telephone sets] or computers.”

Trump released a statement on the new tariffs, calling them a retaliation against Chinese intellectual property graft.

My great friendship with President Xi of China and our country’s relationship with China are both very important to me.  Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time.  This situation is no longer sustainable.  China has, for example, long been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology.  These practices, documented in an extensive report published by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on March 22, 2018, harm our economic and national security and deepen our already massive trade imbalance with China.

The administration is leaving the door open to further tariffs on agricultural goods and other products. Beijing is also considering reciprocal measures in response.

Trump had recently backed an effort aiding Chinese tech manufacturer ZTE in getting out of a 7-year US imports ban as issued by the Commerce Department.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.