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Donald Trump for additional $200 billion tariffs on China

A higher tariff of 25% is already in force on $50 billion worth of imports from China, and the period for public comments on a proposal to extend it to another $200 billion worth of goods ended recently.

business Updated: Sep 15, 2018 23:10 IST
Donald Trump,China,Tariffs
US President Donald Trump addresses a Congressional Medal of Honor Society reception at the White House in Washington, DC.(AFP Photo)

President Donald Trump believes the US has the upper hand in the trade dispute with China and reportedly instructed aides to press ahead with tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports even as his administration renewed a push for negotiations.

Trump asked for additional tariffs on Thursday during a meeting with senior trade and commerce officials, including treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who invited the Chinese earlier this week to resume talks that had been inconclusive. The last round of talks took place in Washington.

There has been no announcement about new tariffs as yet.

“We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us,” Trump tweeted ahead of the last meeting. “Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing. We will soon be taking in Billions in Tariffs & making products at home. If we meet, we meet?”

A higher tariff of 25% is already in force on $50 billion worth of imports from China, and the period for public comments on a proposal to extend it to another $200 billion worth of goods ended recently. Though an implementation schedule hasn’t been announced as yet, Trump is pushing for it to be rolled out.

Bloomberg, which first reported the new move to impose further tariffs, said when Trump was asked at Thursday’s meeting if he worried about the impact of new tariffs on negotiations, he replied in the negative.

Trump has hinted at another tranche of tariffs of $267 billion.

“The $200 billion we are talking about could take place very soon depending on what happens with them. To a certain extent it’s going to be up to China,” Trump said.

“And I hate to say this, but behind that is another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want. That totally changes the equation.”

The Chinese have confirmed receiving Mnuchin’s invitation for talks and welcomed it. “The escalation of trade conflicts doesn’t benefit either side’s interests,” Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said in Beijing on Thursday.

But China is uncertain if talks are leading anywhere and whether the US interlocutors speak for their mercurial and unpredictable president.

Trump has come under mounting pressure at home from sectors impacted by the tariff war, including soybean farmers in the American mid-west who have been among his staunchest supporters. His options have narrowed considerably as he looks for new levies on imports without driving up prices.

Apple warned last week that some of its most popular products, which are made mostly in China, might become costlier because the $200 billion in tariffs Trump is pushing to be implemented.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 22:48 IST