US consumers concerned that a trade war with China could mean higher prices for phones and TVs can breathe a sigh of relief.
The Office of the US Trade Representative on Friday said that $50 billion worth of Chinese goods with "industrially significant technologies" will be subject to 25 percent tariffs. The announcement included 1,102 types of products that will be affected. However, the US government specifically excluded "goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions."
The tariffs underscore the tension between China and US over trade negotiations, a back-and-forth that roped in Chinese smartphone maker ZTE. The tariffs are part of the US response to China's policies that require foreign companies to hand over trade secrets involving technology, intellectual property and innovation, the US government said.
"We must take strong defensive actions to protect America's leadership in technology and innovation against the unprecedented threat posed by China," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Friday in a statement. "China's government is aggressively working to undermine America's high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies."
The first set of tariffs affects $34 billion worth of imports from China and goes into effect on July 6. The second set, which focus on $16 billion worth of goods, will undergo further review, including a public hearing.
The tariffs cover industries such as aerospace, IT, communications, robotics, cars and industrial machinery. The products include nuclear reactor parts, hydraulic turbines, fuel-injection pumps, self-propelled bulldozers, lithium batteries, photosensitive transistors, flight-data recorders, communications satellites, optical fibers, LEDs for backlighting LCDs, and "touch screens without display capabilities for incorporation in apparatus having a display."