Under President Donald Trump’s direction, the United States Trade Representative is now considering an additional $100 billion worth of tariffs against China.

Earlier this week, China announced an imposition of tariffs worth $50 billion on American products — including agricultural goods — in response to the U.S.’ placement of $50 billion in tariffs on Tuesday. The White House said Trump instructed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to implement a plan that protects American farmers.


The White House also said that the trade actions are a response to years of unaddressed, unfair practices by China.


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“Year after year, China continues to distort global markets and harm U.S. businesses and consumers with unfair trade practices,” a White House press release read. “For example, China’s unfair industrial policies, like their ‘Made in China 2025’ policy initiative, clearly state China’s goal of taking away domestic and international market share from foreigners. Members of all political parties, the U.S. business community, and workers around the world are concerned about China’s behavior.”

The press release said Trump wants free trade that is also fair.

“Addressing unfair trade practices and ensuring that global trade is free, fair, and reciprocal will have a significant positive long-term impact on the U.S. economy,” the press release read. “The Administration’s responsive actions follow an extensive investigation by USTR, which revealed how China’s unfair policies and practices are harming American commerce. An interagency analysis concluded that these policies and practices cause at least tens of billions of dollars in damages to the United States every year.”

The New York Times said this potential tariff would make it more likely that the U.S. would tax Chinese products regularly bought for American households, such as furniture and clothing.

Despite the White House’s statements that China’s practices must be addressed, lawmakers like Nebraska Congressman Ben Sasse — who spoke against trade wars in early March — were not in favor of the potential $100 billion tariff.

“Hopefully the President is just blowing off steam again but, if he’s even half-serious, this is nuts,” the GOP senator said in a statement. “China is guilty of many things, but the President has no actual plan to win right now. He’s threatening to light American agriculture on fire. Let’s absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the dumbest possible way to do this.”

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