PresidentDonald Trump said he’s ready to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese goods on short notice, on top of a proposed $200 billion that his administration is putting the final touches on.
The implementation of tariffs on $200 billion of products from China “will take place very soon depending on what happens,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One on Friday. “I hate to do this, but behind that there is another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want.”
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If the administration moved ahead, it would more than cover the entire value of goods imports from China, according to U.S. government data from last year. The U.S. imported $505 billion of Chinese products in 2017, Census Bureau figures show. U.S. stocks erased gains after Trump’s remarks.
The Trump administration has already slapped duties on $50 billion of Chinese exports since July, which spurred immediate in-kind retaliation from Beijing.
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Members of the public had until Thursday to comment on the administration’s plan to slap tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, ranging from bicycles and baseball gloves to digital cameras, paving the way for Trump to announce the tariffs as early as Friday.
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There’s no final decision on that round of tariffs as the U.S. Trade Representative’s office continues to “run their process,” White House Deputy Press SecretaryLindsay Walters said on Friday.
White House economic adviserLarry Kudlow on Friday left open the possibility of a negotiated solution to the trade dispute, but said China must show it’s open to compromise.
While China’s response to U.S. demands has been unsatisfactory, Trump is still speaking to Xi, and would be open to meeting in person, said Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council. An opportunity could take place when world leaders gather at the UN General Assembly in New York this month and the Group of 20 summit in Argentina in November, he said.
“It’s never too late to make good trade policy,” said Kudlow. "But I will say this: the world trading system is broken.” Trump is “dead serious” in his determination to push China to reform its trade policies, he added.
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