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China, U.S. up the tariff ante in latest round of trade war

CB Insights found public companies mentioned the word "tariff" in record numbers during second-quarter earnings calls.

CB Insights found public companies mentioned the word "tariff" in record numbers during second-quarter earnings calls.

China announced $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports should the Trump Administration follow through with plans to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10 to 25 percent.

Duties ranging from 5 to 25 percent will be levied on 5,207 American imports if the U.S. delivers the proposed increase, according to Bloomberg News.

"China is fully prepared and will have to retaliate to defend the nation's dignity and the interests of the people, defend free trade and the multilateral system, and defend the common interests of all countries," the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement, according to CNBC. "The carrot and stick tactic won't work."

Fears of a global trade war had hit the business community hard prior to this week’s developments. Brunswick CEO Mark Schwabero said the company expects to take a substantial hit due to tariffs on smaller Mercury engines that are built in China.

Even before this latest announcement, an analysis by CB Insights found that the word "tariff" on earnings calls hit a record high in the second quarter.

“Mentions of the words 'trade war' have also spiked tremendously,” the report said.

The potential increase of tariffs on China prompted the administration to extend the deadline for submitting comments and requests to testify, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The group is urging members to comment here.

The written comment period closes Sept. 5; the due date for requests to appear at the public hearing is Aug. 13.

“If the administration proceeds with more than doubling the proposed tariff on the most recent Section 301 list, which targets a range of commonly used marine products, it will only escalate, not alleviate, the trade conflict,” said Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA senior vice president of government relations and legal affairs, in a statement. “From tariffs on raw materials and components to retaliatory tariffs that have frozen international markets, the recreational boating industry continues to bear the brunt of these trade actions.”

Vasilaros said the NMMA believes China should be held accountable for unfair trade practices against American business. “But beefing up tariffs that do not address the core problem is not the answer,” she said. “We’re all for reworking old trade agreements that no longer benefit American jobs and businesses. And we urge President Trump to use last week’s agreement with the European Union as a blueprint for how to proceed. Let’s work with our allies and swiftly hold others accountable through negotiated trade agreements.”

Earlier this week, NMMA met with senior White House officials to discuss the compounding effects of tariffs. Vasilaros encouraged the administration to take retaliation off the table as they negotiate with Canada, the European Union and Mexico.

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