ShareThis Page
Trump threatens to raise Chinese tariffs to 25% this week | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Trump threatens to raise Chinese tariffs to 25% this week

Associated Press
1118370_web1_1118370-042872c63d1640bbaacad02450af2222
A bay of 40-foot shipping container fill the stern of a container ship at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga. President Trump turned up the pressure on China Sunday, May 5, 2019, threatening to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. AP
1118370_web1_1118370-8c8ebf62155d4a8b913aa97dbf2bea31
President Trump holds a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Trump turned up the pressure on China Sunday, May 5, threatening to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. AP
1118370_web1_1118370-6d5a935e86444e1f97e066aa2751ff00
Packages labeled ‘Made in China’ are loaded on a UPS truck for delivery in New York. President Trump turned up the pressure on China Sunday, May 5, 2019, threatening to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. AP
1118370_web1_1118370-7e5fdd0f643c4e33b95c8e2e87659569
President Trump, left, meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, far right, at the White House in Washington. Trump turned up the pressure on China Sunday, May 5, threatening to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. AP
1118370_web1_1118370-14a1b05df2c7464b9435e16ca3e496e4
Two jockey truck drivers pass each other in the container yard where rubber tire gantry load and unload 40-foot shipping container at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga. President Trump turned up the pressure on China Sunday, May 5, 2019, threatening to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. AP

WASHINGTON — President Trump turned up the pressure on China on Sunday, threatening to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Trump’s comments, delivered on Twitter, came as a Chinese delegation was scheduled to resume talks in Washington on Wednesday aimed at resolving a trade war that has shaken financial markets and cast gloom over the world economy.

Trump turned up the heat by saying he would raise import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese products to 25% from 10% on Friday.

He’d twice pushed back deadlines — in January and March — to raise the tariffs in a bid to buy more time for a negotiated settlement. But on Sunday, Trump, who has called himself a “tariff man,” said he’s losing patience. “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” Trump tweeted.

In his tweets, Trump also threatened to slap tariffs on another $325 billion in Chinese imports, covering everything China ships annually to the United States.

The two countries are locked in a high-stakes dispute over China’s push to establish itself as a technological super power. The United States charges that China is resorting to predatory tactics — including cybertheft and forcing foreign companies to hand over technology — in a drive to establish Chinese companies as world leaders in advanced industries such as robotics and electric vehicles.

The administration has repeatedly suggested that the negotiators are making progress. A month ago, Trump said that the two countries were “rounding the turn” and predicted that “something monumental” would be achieved in the next few weeks.

But last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seemed to temper expectations, suggesting that Washington was willing to “move on” if it can’t get the deal it wants.

A substantive deal would require China to rethink the way it pursues its economic ambitions, abandoning or scaling back subsidies to its companies, easing up on the pressure for foreign companies to share trade secrets, and giving them more access to the Chinese market.

Philip Levy, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a White House economist under President George W. Bush, said the talks are too complicated for Trump’s high-pressure tactics to work. “The president treats this like we’re haggling over the price of a used car,” Levy said.

Trump has made a priority of shaking up American trade policy.

As a candidate for the presidency, Trump raged repeatedly about alleged Chinese perfidy — so much so that a video mashup of him spitting out the word “China” went viral and collected more than 15 million views on Youtube.com.

Trump charged that previous administrations, gullible and weak, had let China get away with abusive trade practices, accepting empty promises from Beijing and allowing the U.S.-China economic relationship to grow ever more lopsided. As evidence, he pointed to America’s vast U.S. trade deficit with China — $379 billion last year, by far the biggest with any country in the world.

Once he took office, Trump’s relationship with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, seemed to get off to a good start. The two men shared chocolate cake and amiable conversation at Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in April 2017. A few weeks later, China agreed to open its market U.S. beef, cooked chicken, and natural gas in what Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called a “herculean accomplishment.”

The romance faded. In March 2018, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a report accusing China of using predatory tactics to strengthen its tech companies.

Last July, the Trump administration gradually began slapping import taxes on Chinese goods to pressure Beijing into changing its policies. It now has imposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports and 25% tariffs on another $50 billion. The Chinese have retaliated by targeting $110 billion in U.S. imports.

The fight between the world’s two biggest economies is raising worries about global economic growth. The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and others have downgraded their forecasts for the world economy, saying the U.S.-China standoff is reducing world trade and creating uncertainty for companies trying to decide where to buy supplies, build factories, and make investments.

Trump has portrayed his tariffs as a moneymaker for the United States and a benefit to the U.S. economy.

But a March study by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Columbia University, and Princeton University found that the burden of Trump’s tariffs — including taxes on steel, aluminum, solar panels, and Chinese imports — falls entirely on U.S. consumers and businesses who buy imported products. By the end of last year, the study found, they were paying $3 billion a month in higher taxes and absorbing $1.4 billion a month in lost efficiency.

Nonetheless, the overall U.S. economy has remained healthy. On Friday, the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate had fallen to the lowest level in half a century.

The prospect of higher tariffs and heightened tensions could alarm investors when markets open Monday. “When the president puts his foot down, it makes the market go down,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, wrote in a research note Sunday. “Tariff man is back just in time to make the stock market dive, dive, dive.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.