Trade talks between the U.S. and China failed miserably to produce an agreement on Thursday. Now, the Trump administration has decided to move forward with increased tariffs on $200 billion in goods from China.
In a statement, the White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said: “This evening, Ambassador Lightizer and Secretary Mnuchin met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China. The Ambassador and Secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He, and agreed to continue discussions tomorrow morning at USTR.” The USTR refers to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office.
As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, the new tariffs will raise the import taxes of those goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. According to the White House, talks would continue on Friday. While speaking to reporters in front of the White House, President Trump said: “I’m different than a lot of people. I happen to think the tariffs for our country are very powerful.”
According to the New York Times, the world’s two largest economies were extremely close to making a trade deal that would open up the Chinese market to American companies, but negotiations fell apart when China wanted to change the text that acted as a blueprint for their pact. China is also being accused by U.S. negotiators of turning their back on their commitments.
On Sunday, Trump responded in a tweet by threatening to raise the already existing tariffs to 25 percent, as well as impose new ones on billions of dollars in imported goods from China. “We were getting very close to a deal then they started to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that,” said Trump.
According to the Wall Street Journal, most of the goods that are facing increased tariffs are circuit boards, machinery, and vehicle parts. The proposed tariffs on the remainder of the $200 billion worth of Chinese imports would obviously affect consumers. Among those goods are iPhones, clothing, laptops, and other everyday items.
China has already imposed tariffs on almost all of the goods coming from the United States. On Thursday, China said that it would defend its own interested and respond with “necessary countermeasures” if tariff increased take effect on Friday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, while Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV after arriving in the U.S., he said: “I came here this time, under pressure, to show China’s great sincerity.” This growing trade conflict started over a year ago when the United States accused Beijing of pressuring American companies to hand over their technology to their competitors.
On Wednesday, Trump explained that Chinese President Xi Jinping had sent him “a very beautiful letter” and that he would most likely speak with him on the phone. Trump has continuously accused China of taking advantage of the trade policies in America but has stated that a trade pact could be expected.
“Well, we are very close to a deal with China. But it’s a question of whether or not I want to make it. I mean we’re going to make either a real deal, or we’re not going to make a deal at all. And if we don’t make a deal we’re going to tariff China, and that’ll be fine. We’ll — frankly we’ll make a lot of money,” said President Trump.