(recasts headline to clarify tariffs on $50bn worth of China imports)
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Thursday to impose $50bn in tariffs on imported goods from China.
Trump left the possibility that the total could be higher.
In announcing the memorandum, Trump estimated that the US trade deficit with China is about $500bn out of a total global deficit of $800bn.
The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office will create a proposed list in 15 days for which goods from China will be specifically targeted.
Earlier this month, Trump signed a proclamation calling for tariffs on steel and aluminium , a decision which the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said put $133bn of chemical industry investment at risk.
The prospect of tariffs have raised concerns in the petrochemical and refining industries because they increase the risk of retaliation from other countries.
The US exports large amounts of refined products and petrochemicals. As the nation continues to start up new petrochemical plants, those exports will rise even further.
Retaliatory tariffs could target these exports just as the new plants start up.
Image below shows a container ship. Source: Al Greenwood
Additional reporting by Al Greenwood