Trump hints at a possible compromise of Chinese tariffs


President Trump hinted on Friday on a possible trade-off in future trade talks with China: leave $ 50 billion in tariffs on Chinese products but negotiate on the remaining $ 200 billion of products currently under at rates.

"If you look at technology and the first $ 50 billion worth of goods, we want to keep it because we need it," Trump told Fox Business in an interview on Friday. The president was responding to a question about comments he made earlier in the week, in which he said that the administration would not lift tariffs in China even if they ended up in a trade deal. .

Last year, the Trump administration imposed a 25% tariff on goods worth $ 16 billion from China. This resulted in 25% tariffs on goods worth an additional $ 34 billion. The administration then applied tariffs of 10% on an additional 200 billion dollars of Chinese goods. The first two tranches concerned mainly machinery and electronics, information and communication technologies, while the third part consisted of agricultural products, chemicals, leather, plywood and paper. and textiles, among other goods.

Friday's comments by Trump suggested that the administration could maintain tariffs on the first two batches of Chinese goods taxed. Trump did not mention the third batch of goods worth $ 200 billion as part of the customs duties that he would maintain.

"Now, the question of whether this is converted into politics is an open question," said Simon Lester, trade policy analyst for the Cato Institute.

Trump surprised many on Wednesday when he seemed to tell reporters in the White House that tariffs against China would not be lifted at any time in the foreseeable future. "We are not talking about removing them … We are talking about leaving them, and for a substantial period of time, because we have to make sure that if we reach an agreement with China, China will live according to the law. okay, "he said.

A White House spokesman declined to clarify the president's remarks and did not respond to a further inquiry into Friday's comments.

Comments came as the United States tried to conclude a trade deal with China. The talks would have been caught unawares as to whether the Trump government will lift the trade sanctions until it has definitively confirmed that China has taken the first steps to resolve the problems and whether Beijing will agree to the following: authorize the United States, under an agreement, to apply tariffs immediately. if this is considered a violation of the terms of the agreement.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing next week to meet with their counterpart, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Follow-up interviews will be held in Washington, DC the following week. The White House is trying to put in place final talks between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but these talks were postponed to a later date in April.


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