US and China both omit key products from tariff threats

FILE- In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, the back of an iPhone 4 and iPad 3 are displayed for a photographer in New York. Americans spent nearly $96 billion last year on cell phones and computers imported from China, far more than they spent on any other items. But you won’t find cell phones or computers on the list of Chinese-made products the Trump administration is threatening with tariffs. (AP Photo/Karly Domb Sadof, File)

DETROIT - The U.S. and China are both threatening tariffs over billions of dollars' worth of products in their escalating conflict over trade.

In both cases, what's not on their lists also says a lot.

Neither country is targeting products that they would have a hard time getting elsewhere.

China, for example, isn't threatening tariffs on the $1 billion worth of animal skins it imports from the U.S. each year to make footwear and upholstery because those skins are valuable and replacements wouldn't be easy to find. It also isn't targeting the largest jets made by Boeing Co.

U.S. officials say they want to minimize pain for U.S. consumers so many of the most-imported products, like cellphones, computers, clothes and shoes, aren't on the U.S. list.

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