back to article Prez Trump's $60bn China tariff plan to hit tech, communications, aerospace industries

US President Donald Trump's planned tariffs on goods imported into America from China could hit the tech industry – and ergo, you the customer – particularly hard. The tariffs, announced in a memorandum on Thursday by the Tweeter-in-Chief on Thursday and fleshed out by the office of the US government's trade representative ( …

  1. Mark 85

    Crap meet rotating air movement device. It's already started if you've followed the US stock market. No one knows what's going to happen and how it effect not just consumers but companies both big and small.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's almost too late

    China will soon introduce its first airliner, the C919, after which it will no longer buy from Boeing or Airbus.

    China made a deal to borrow AMD's technology, so soon it will no longer need to buy from either AMD or Intel. It's not a coincidence that the CEO of AMD is Chinese.

    China already convinced the top railway manufacturers to foolishly share their technology, paving the way for China's world-class trainset.

    The problem always has been that China does not play by the same rules. Western companies expect China not to steal their IP and buy products from them for years down the road, but China will do anything to become self-sufficient.

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: It's almost too late

      RE: "...China will do anything to become self-sufficient."

      Whereas the USA will do anything to pay less, for everything, with one exception: The Military. Other than connecting doorbells and juicers to the internet the only thing this country now seems able to do with any kind of proficiency is blow things up and threaten to. And all the current leadership can seem to do is anything that doesn't involve thoughtfulness and intelligence, and does involve being strong and tough. Its very dispiriting.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: It's almost too late

        "Whereas the USA will do anything to pay less"

        hopefully THIS means building robotic factories in the USA.

        In China (and many other upwardly mobile far east nations, from my experience), their underpaid employees are often "thrown" at solving a manufacturing need. It's a bit like the keystone cops. In the west, people think they're too good to count a million washers, and weigh the bag instead, estimating the number. Over there, they count, and throw an unlimited number of 'bodies' at the problem until it's done.

        Yes, out of a million washers they were short a few hundred. [this was Singapore, back in the 90's]

        So, back to the 21st century...

        Let's say you want a limited production run of circuit boards. A company in China will probably have a big workbench filled with employees working on your device, using the 'tweezer' pick and place method. In the USA, a robot will do it, and a tech will load the parts reels and put the finished circuit boards into the reflow oven. Even visual inspection can be automated. Interestingly, one US company's manufacturing price is actually COMPETITIVE with at least one well known company in China [all things considered].

        What China has going at the moment is a lack of "polluting" costs and better 'location proximity' for suppliers. They did this deliberately.

        Let's say you have a resistor maker, a capacitor maker, a semiconductor maker, and a board maker, all in proximity to an assembly company. It doesn't take "rocket surgery" to figure out that having all of these NEXT TO EACH OTHER (effectively) will GREATLY improve the process and lower inventory levels [leading to lower costs].

        THEN, they have an UNLIMITED SUPPLY of "low wage" employees, which (for now) are cheaper than building robots. And that's who is building our "stuff" at the moment.

        Couple that with a LACK of environmentalist wackos (in China) complaining daily about the MERE PRESENCE of hazardous materials, along with the expense of disposing of such industrial waste (they just pump it into the air, etc.), and the frequent sue-balls and H.R. nightmare and "other regulations" and other problems associated with the "sue-ball" shadow economy, and building in China looks pretty damn good by comparison... [from the "can you blame them" depaertment]

        I'd like to see a lot of "those things" made HERE instead. With robots. And clean processes. And once our industries stop going "over there" and invest "over here" to get the robotic plants up and running, because the tariffs make it worth while, we'll see a shift in manufacturing. And that's the point.

        1. gbshore

          Re: It's almost too late

          EXACTLY!!! Great response to people who don’t have a clue

        2. swschrad

          Wisconsin can probably kiss Foxconn goodbye

          multi-billion dollar LCD plant was going to be built in wisconsin. multi-million giveaway by the state to land them. well, I have my doubts that it will happen now.

          1. Nol

            Re: Wisconsin can probably kiss Foxconn goodbye

            Foxconn is a Taiwanese company.

            1. x 7

              Re: Wisconsin can probably kiss Foxconn goodbye

              It may be Taiwanese, but theres commie capital behind it

      2. gbshore

        Re: It's almost too late

        Perhaps Geoffrey you have not been paying attention to what has been going on and the facts around me trade imbalances and extremely totem deals our former “leaders” have done that has led to closing of industries , outsourcing of jobs etc. Thoughtfulness? What are you looking at? When you go shopped my I suppose you look for the most expensive item to buy... I suppose if you get sacked, that’s ok .... your comments are absurd...

        1. Blank Reg

          Re: It's almost too late

          Around 80% of the jobs lost in the US manufacturing sector were because of automation, not outsourcing.

          As for outsourcing in other industries, you can blame that on your corporate overlords that own your government and only care about the next quarter's results and their grossly inflated pay packet.

          1. Chemical Bob

            Re: It's almost too late

            Outsourcing isn't the problem, offshoring is the problem. Most businesses exist because of outsourcing, its just paying someone else to do work you don't want to do or are unable to do. Like having an accountant do your taxes or having a mechanic fix your car or buying butter (or pacemakers) instead of making your own. Offshoring is having this work done in India.

    2. Schultz

      ... China does not play by the same rules ...

      Whereas the western countries always played by the same rules, ensuring equal and fair treatment of everyone involved?

      Except, they didn't. Check the history books, start with colonialism if you want some egregious examples. That's why the WTO made such a big difference: finally some countries agreed on some common rules and it made all the difference for trade.

      1. Martin Gregorie

        Re: ... China does not play by the same rules ...

        Look up what Charles Dickens and other 19th century authors thought of the American attitude to copyright and, if you're American, say that again with a straight face.

        To a large extent what's happened with China can be traced directly back to the total trade embargo placed on it in the 50s and 60s following the Korean War. When I was in University in the mid/late 60s one of our lecturers visited China (and got vilified in our papers for going to see what they were doing). I was at a talk he gave afterwards. The main point he made was that the embargo gave a huge boost to Chinese manufacturing. I remember him saying that all their older lab equipment carried European and American brands, but all their new stuff was Chinese made and was doing the job. He also said that the embargo had two effects: apart from pissing them off, it also made them determined to never again be dependent on foreign technology.

        So, regardless of what you think of the Chinese following the 19th century American model of IP theft, its obvious that, far from damaging the Chinese, the 50s/60s trade embargo was the kick start that made them into an industrial nation. Now add in the US Corporate fixation on driving down costs by outsourcing manufacture to the cheapest bidder while ignoring the fact that if you don't pay local workers a decent wage they can't afford your products, and the current situation looks, um, inevitable.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An approach to trade wars...

    Carefully choose some item that is within the scope of the proposed or threatened tariffs. Choose very carefully. Immediately suspend all deliveries, accompanied with a tongue in cheek apology.

    Gather up a chair and popcorn. Enjoy the resultant chaos.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An approach to trade wars...

      Also, employ Control Theory 101.

      Turn on some trade action and watch the response. Just when the response peaks, turn off the trade action. Then watch that response and just when it settles, turn on the trade action again. Repeat endlessly.

      E.g. Embargo to preempt their tariff, resultant price rise in their market, when prices peak then flood the market using stockpile, watch for price collapse. Repeat.

      It's a driven-in-phase, positive feedback, oscillator. It's a bit like pushing a swing. The goal is to build up the maximum possible amplitude of economic chaos within the target.

      Any investments in arranging their own production are destroyed by the carefully timed price chaos.

      For comedic effect, issue sweet apologies along with each change of state. As if each flip-flop was being done as a kindly response to the target's complaints about the previous flip-flop.

      My goal here is to discourage trade wars. By making them Nuclear.

  4. Martin 47

    It is feared any extra import charges on electronics coming into the US from China will be passed on to customers

    Well doh! No shit Sherlock

    Of course the end consumer pays for the tariffs, wonder if the EU will figure that out before the Donald?

    1. Rustbucket

      On Australian TV show Planet America they reckon an iPhone 9 costs $US 341 to make from parts manufactured in Japan, South Korea and maybe the USA, and then it's assembled in China.

      The Chinese assembly contributes only US $22 to the total cost, but the phone will then be classified as "Made in China" and import duty levied appropriately.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    What Trump wants…

    Basically, Trump is fed up with Chinese organizations ripping off, …

    Not really as it has little or no effect on him or his business. But it plays wells at rallies and gives good photo opportunities. Remember the steel and aluminium tariffs? Most of the countries have secured exemptions but that didn't stop Trump posing in front of factory workers again. Of course, the exemptions will then be presented as a negotiating gambit gained by playing hardball. I suspect the China stuff might lead to more of the same and the Trump chumps will lap it up as long as they profit from the current upswing in the global economy.

    More worrying for us all is the appointment of that cretin Bolton to replace McMaster as National Security Director. Trump is now busy filling his cabinet with toadying morons. Who knows where that will lead to.

    1. gbshore

      Re: What Trump wants…

      Lol!!!! John Bolton is respected worldwide you moron...

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: What Trump wants…

        I'm not sure where you got that idea from mate, even the BBC is finding it hard to say anything nice about him.

        1. Naselus

          Re: What Trump wants…

          Doubt Bolton will last very long, tbh. He's very much an ideologue, with a short temper and incapable of playing nicely with others. In this administration, that means he's likely to get roasted by intrigues and quickly find that Trump strongly disagrees with him on a lot of issues very quickly. For example, Trump's current stance on the Iraq war ("I always said it was a mistake") is wildly at odds with Bolton, who still insists it was a roaring success.

          And no, Bolton is not 'respected worldwide'. He's not even widely respected within the Republican party.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: What Trump wants…

        John Bolton is respected worldwide

        You seem to have mis-spelt "derided as the idiot who was the prime mover behind the disasterous war in Iraq that's still costing US lives"..

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: What Trump wants…

        "Lol!!!! John Bolton is respected worldwide you moron..."

        Your world must be very.very small.

  6. Christoph

    Terrible the things those fiendish orientals get up to. So different from our clean upstanding western democracies who haw clear and simple trade rules: "I have a big gun. Give me your money".

    Try telling various countries in sub-Saharan Africa that the west deals honestly with them!

  7. x 7

    China putting tariffs on imports of USA soya?

    No chance - they are so dependent on imported food, and take so much soya from the USA that they'd be risking food riots

    1. Naselus

      Putting tariffs on US-produced soya is not the same as putting tariffs on all foreign-produced soya. Other large soy bean exporters (Brazil, Argentina etc) will quickly take Chinese market share from the now non-competitive US producers, and will expand production to take advantage of it.

      1. x 7

        China already takes the large majority of South American soy production, and its highly unlikely there is spare capacity to replace the USA output

  8. Sanguma

    It is usual for animals to chew legs off to escape traps. Trump as usual follows his own drummer - he's chewing off his own leg to fall into a trap.

    For how long has the United States been preaching Free Trade? Eg, trade without tariffs and whatnot.

    So it depends on who is imposing the tariffs? Yeah, right.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Current Chinese leader: For life

    Current US leader: Any day now

    Trump is an idiot.

  10. Andrew Moore

    My view...

    This is what could topple the orange idiot- my feeling was he was safe in power as long as he didn't make wealthy people less wealthy. This is likely to make wealthy people less wealthy.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: My view...

      I think this is timed to keep people distracted from all the other disasters in this administration. Porn stars and Playboy models filing lawsuits, the FBI slowly tightening the noose around president dickhead, the constant flood of exiting white house refugees etc.

  11. phantomsteve

    What, no clothes...?

    Not surprisingly, The Dump doesn't want a tariff on clothing.... anyone would think that he doesn't have clothing lines made in China (or his daughter)...

    Of course, silly me... why would he have things made in China when he criticises tech companies for not making in the US... only a really hypocritical person would do that!

  12. redneck

    us treasuries

    If China really wanted to have fun, it could dump its US treasuries.

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