Commercial, Regulation

Trump’s Tariffs on China Spread to Aerospace

The U.S.' President Trump and China's President Xi Jinping are leading their countries in an escalating trade skirmish. Trump photo fair use/Xi photo by Antilong, used under creative commons

U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest salvo attempting to punish China for intellectual property theft saw the levying a 25% tariff on some 1,300 items, including a host of aircraft parts.

The proposed tariffs, which amount to $12.5 billion on $50 billion in goods, would go into effect no sooner than June. Among the targeted products are parts for internal combustion aircraft engines and turbojets, wiring and rubber for use on aircraft, optical instruments, parts and accessories for aeronautical or space navigation and dozens of other line items related to aerospace. Some examples include stators and rotors for electric generators for use on aircraft, as well as optical instruments and “automatic pilots for aircraft navigation technology,” according to a summary of the new tariffs posted by the U.S. Trade Representative.

The tariffs on Chinese aerospace, electronics and machinery parts and products follow China’s tariffs on primarily agricultural U.S. exports, which themselves came in response to America’s announcement of extra taxes on Chinese steel, aluminum and solar panel parts.

In response to the latest — and largest — effort from the U.S., China broadened its proposed tariffs to cover a wide range of agricultural products that would balance the ledger with $50 billion more in duties.

That follows China’s stated promise to respond in kind to any U.S. tariffs. “As the Chinese saying goes, it is only polite to reciprocate,” was the Chinese Embassy’s official response.

As the escalating reciprocation builds toward a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, many worry about the collateral damage it will do. Some economists believe that much of this is posturing stronger negotiating positions when the two sides do come together, but if that takes too long, the tariffs will take effect, and the relevant industries will feel the impact until an agreement is reached.

Boeing is among those hoping for a quick resolution before the tariffs go into effect. Boeing released this statement today:

“Boeing is confident that dialogue continues. While both governments have outlined positions that could do harm to the global aerospace industry, neither has yet imposed these drastic measures. We will continue in our own efforts to proactively engage both governments and build on the recent assurances by U.S. and Chinese leaders that productive talks are ongoing. A strong and vibrant aerospace industry is important to the economic prosperity and national security of both countries.”

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