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Trump set to take trade war with China further

By Sheetal Sukhija, Shanghai News
15 Sep 2018, 10:16 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, U.S. - While the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin's recent efforts to restart trade talks with China came as a positive sign that was welcomed by Beijing and the financial markets - the U.S. President Donald Trump is believed to be mulling more tariffs now.

A report in Bloomberg quoted sources as confirming that the U.S. President has directed aides to proceed with tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods.

While the report noted that it remained unclear when Trump would impose the additional tariffs - it confirmed that administration officials had received the order from the U.S. President. 

The news comes days after Trump said that he would be adding tariffs on another $200 billion in goods.

Last week, Trump also added that he had plans to unveil tariffs on another $267 billion in Chinese imports “ready to go on short notice if I want.”

The information from sources and Trump's statement last week came at the end of a public comment period for the $200 billion tariff list.

The list included several internet technology products and other electronics, printed circuit boards, and consumer goods ranging from handbags to bicycles and furniture.

However, on Friday, following the news, the White House released a statement pointed out that Trump had been clear that he and his administration would continue to take action to address China’s trade practices.

In its statement, the White House said that it is encouraging Beijing to address U.S. concerns to avoid escalation.

So far, Trump - who has demanded that China cut its $375 billion trade surplus with the U.S. - has imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

Further, Trump has also demanded that China end policies aimed at acquiring U.S. technologies and intellectual property and roll back high-tech industrial subsidies.

Meanwhile, Trump's statement and the subsequent confirmation about his plans to further intensify his trade war with China comes after the U.S. Treasury department extended an invitation to senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He, for more talks to try to resolve trade differences.

While the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that it welcomed the invitation, Trump questioned the proposal.

He took to Twitter and said that he was under no pressure to make a deal with Beijing.

Trump further said that the U.S. “will soon be taking in Billions in Tariffs & making products at home. If we meet, we meet?”

Following Trump's tweets, the Treasury department has refrained from commenting on the status of talks with China or its invitation. 

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the U.S. Trade Representative's office announced that it was working to revise the list based on issues raised in public hearings and written submissions. 

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