The Trump administration's "reckless" tariffs are harmful to consumers and the U.S. economy, according to some industry groups and analysts.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to slap a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese products in addition to the import duties previously announced on $50 billion in goods. China immediately vowed to retaliate.
Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted the proposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods is half of the U.S. goods imports from China in 2017.
"No way you get there without putting tariffs on a lot of consumer goods imports," whether they are computers, cell phones, apparel, toys and small household appliances, the Treasury official in the Obama administration said on his Twitter account.
The National Retail Federation, an advocacy group, called the latest tariff threat "reckless escalation", saying the tit-for-tat trade fight is catching American families in the middle.
"Higher prices for everyday essentials and lost jobs threaten to sap the energy out of the strong U.S. economy just as most Americans are starting to enjoy the benefits of historic tax reform," the NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said on Monday night.
In a White House conference call on Tuesday, Peter Navarro, Trump's trade advisor, dismissed fears that ratcheting up tariffs would harm the U.S. economy.
"Our view is that these actions are necessary to defend this country, and that they are ultimately bullish for corporate America, for the working men and women of America, and for the global trading system," Navarro said, as U.S. stocks fell following the sharp escalation in the trade dispute between China and the U.S..
Tuesday's losses put the Dow Jones Industrial Average back in negative territory for the year, Reuters reported.
Economists warned that the tariffs would start to slow U.S. growth, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The story cited Oxford Economics, a leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis, which estimated that if Trump imposed the $200 billion in tariffs and China responded in kind, U.S. growth could slow by 0.3 percentage point next year.
"By threatening to impose a 10 percent tariff on an additional $200 billion of imports from China, the U.S. President Trump has upped the ante on the trade conflict between the two," Oxford Economics said in a research briefing.
"China has quickly vowed to retaliate and if such an escalation does materialize, it would have significant economic impact on China, the U.S. and the rest of the world, at a sensitive time for the global economy," it said.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers said the Trump administration's fresh batch of tariffs on Chinese products is "not only harmful, but inherently unfair" to U.S. workers and the industry.
"The American equipment manufacturing worker, the American farmer and the U.S. economy all lose as a result of the administration's reckless and never-ending tariffs," AEM President Dennis Slater said on Tuesday.
"We again call on the Trump administration to de-escalate this unnecessary and costly trade war," he said in a statement.
The administration's latest tariff threat is deepening the likely free fall in prices that producers of soy and soy products are feeling directly in their wallets and which threaten the stability of their market long term, the American Soybean Association (ASA) said on Tuesday.
"Soybean prices are declining as a direct result of this trade feud," John Heisdorffer, Iowa soybean grower and ASA president, said in a release posted on the association's website.
He said prices had fallen drastically since the end of last month and continue to plummet, representing a loss of more than $6 billion on the 2018 soybean crop in less than a month.
"We have approached the Trump administration repeatedly and implored them to hear our side of this story," he said.
In 2017, China imported 60 percent of total U.S. soybean exports, representing nearly 1 in 3 rows of harvested soybeans, with a value of $14 billion, according to the association statistics.