The White House has been saying for months that Trump's next round of tariffs would punish China for engaging in intellectual property theft, but what they unveiled last night goes so far beyond that we may as well call it a lie.
The initial list of products Trump wants to impose tariffs on includes over 1,300 items from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to batteries, flat-screen TVs, appliances and other products that aren't even related to high-tech theft.
And that brings us to the most asinine and inexplicable items included on the list: ingredients for generic pharmaceuticals and basic medical devices.
The 25 percent tariff would be placed on raw ingredients for drugs such as insulin used by diabetics, the anti-allergic-reaction drug epinephrine, as well as vaccines, blood products and antidepressants, according to the list. The tariffs would also target medical devices and diagnostic equipment including syringes, MRI machines, defibrillators, artificial joints, and pacemakers.
More than 80 percent of the ingredients used to make U.S.-consumed drugs are produced outside of the country, according to the Food and Drug Administration. China, along with India, accounts for most of the bulk ingredients and the FDA has called China a “major provider.”
American health care and prescription drugs are already insanely expensive without Trump toying with the supply chain. Insulin is already insanely expensive and I don't think it would be a stretch to say that people will literally die if cost of producing it increases by 25 percent.
If they ever return from vacation, Congress should immediately hold hearings on Trump's proposal because a tariff on insulin, artificial joints, and pacemakers among other things would necessarily increase the cost of Medicaid and Medicare for the federal government.
Trump's list of over 1,300 products he wants to impose tariffs on will be available for public comment for the next 30 to 60 days before the list is finalized, but even if a significant number of tariffs are removed from the list the damage may already be done.
China responded overnight with another round of tariffs that will hit Trump exactly where it hurts in the agricultural and industrial sector.
China is punching back in the escalating trade dispute with the United States, announcing plans for heavy new tariffs on dozens more US goods including aircraft and autos.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday said it plans to impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of US exports. The 106 affected products will also include soybeans and chemicals.
China's announcement is a direct response to the Trump administration's publication Tuesday of a list of about 1,300 Chinese exports -- also worth about $50 billion annually -- that it intends to target with 25% tariffs.
The list of items China will retaliate against includes soy beans, corn, beef, cotton, wheat, orange juice, tobacco products, a wide range of vehicles, propane, auto parts, and many other things. China has already put a lot more thought into this than Trump has.
Actually, Trump barely has thoughts at all. He has impulses.
When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2018
Kudlow on POTUS’ “$500 billion down” Tweet this morning: “I’m not sure what exactly he’s referring to.” pic.twitter.com/iRnw3RuNAr
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) April 4, 2018
The Dow dropped by 500 points immediately after it opened this morning.