Donald Trump Ready To Impose About $50 Billion Tariffs On Chinese Goods

Ivan Schwartz
June 15, 2018

The United States has almost completed a second list of tariffs on $100 billion in Chinese goods, as President Donald Trump prepares to enact an initial round of duties that is expected to trigger an in-kind response from Beijing, several sources said.

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Xi told Pompeo he hoped that the United States could "cautiously and appropriately" handle sensitive issues to avoid "major disturbances" to Sino-U.S. ties, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

China has pledged that any tariffs will void progress made in recent trade talks between Beijing and Washington, and has drawn up its own list of $50 billion in U.S. goods to target.

If the US does move ahead with tariffs, China is ready to go with its own countermoves.

He trimmed the list to 800 product categories, Reuters news agency reported, citing industry sources familiar with the list.

The warning from Beijing comes as the USA prepares to levy new tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese imports.

Although Pompeo was in Beijing to debrief the Chinese on the Singapore summit, the trade friction was never far from the surface.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at his side, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said there were two choices when it came to the trade issue.

"China opts for the first one and has made such a decision", Wang said before warning, "we hope the USA will make a wise choice and China on its part is prepared on all fronts".

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ZTE last week agreed to pay a $1 billion fine to the USA government to end a crippling supplier ban imposed after it broke an agreement to discipline executives who conspired to evade US sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Several industry lobbyists said they expect the move to come as early as Friday, with the publication of a Federal Register notice, or it could be put off until next week.

If Washington adopts tariffs, Beijing is expected to hit back with its own duties on US imports, including soybeans, cars, chemicals and planes, according to a list it released in early April. "If there are not tariffs, it will be because the president has decided that he's not ready to implement tariffs", a person familiar with the administration's deliberations told Reuters.

Trump no longer believes that Beijing's influence over North Korea is a compelling reason to ease up on trade talks now that his administration has opened up a direct line of communication with the nuclear-armed country, [an] administration official said.

Trump's decision on the Chinese tariffs comes in the aftermath of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But on May 29, the White House said it would announce by June 15 a list of Chinese imported goods that will be slapped with 25 percent tariffs. But that offer has not been accepted by Trump, people familiar with the matter said.

Trump said this week he'll confront China "very strongly" over trade in the coming weeks.

Trump did not specifically mention the tariffs and added that he had "a very good relationship with President Xi (Jinping) of China". But he signalled that whatever the implications, "I have to do what I have to do" to address the trade imbalance.

The U.S. trade deficit with China was $336 billion in 2017. "They see the isolated and the president as easily distracted".

On Thursday, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said some Chinese exporters are rushing to fill orders due to concern about possible trade risks.

Other reports by GizPress

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