Trump threatens a new 10% tariff on China
President Trump is renewing a threat to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports. Barring a trade deal, starting Sept. 1 the U.S. will apply a 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods, he tweeted Thursday.
“We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to re-negotiate the deal prior to signing,” he wrote, while describing the most recent round of talks with Beijing as “constructive.”
Mr. Trump also said China had reneged on a previous commitment to buy more agricultural products from the U.S. and to halt exports of Chinese-made fentanyl, a potentially lethal opioid, saying that “many Americans continue to die.” He also expressed hopes for a “comprehensive” trade agreement with China.
U.S. and China trade officials ended their most recent negotiations on Wednesday with few signs of progress, while agreeing to reconvene in September. The Trump administration previously imposed a 25% tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports. But the duties set to take effect Sept. 1 would apply to a broad swath of consumer goods, including clothes, shoes, electronics and other common items.
In June, Mr. Trumpat the G20 conference in Osaka, Japan, temporarily easing fears of a full-blown trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. The sides agreed at the time to continue talks in search of a trade deal.
In justifying the White House’s protectionist stance, American trade negotiators say China forces U.S. companies to reveal trade secrets, steals intellectual property and unfairly subsidizes Chinese technology companies. But a range of key U.S. industries, including tech, retail and transportation companies, warn that a prolonged trade fight with China willand dampen domestic economic growth.
“The president’s decision to proceed with adding these additional costs for hard-working American families is truly shocking,” said Rick Helfenbein, CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, which has lobbied against the tariffs, in a statement. “This decision will increase the tariff bill on all clothes, shoes and home textiles, like blankets and sheets – products that already account for the vast majority of the duties collected by the U.S. government.”
Financial markets, which had jumped in morning trade, fell into negative terrain after Mr. Trump’s tweets. The Dow went from a gain of 270 points Thursday to a loss of 180 points moments after Mr. Trump tweeted his threat — a swing of more than 450 points. The broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq also slid.
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