WASHINGTON – The White House on Friday is expected to publish a final list of the Chinese products it plans to impose on tariffs and could soon begin to implement some of those taxes, which could rekindle a trade war that had been in the back part. President Trump engaged in a delicate nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.
The Trump administration has vacillated between threatening tariffs on China and putting the trade war "on hold" while trying to negotiate an agreement with Beijing that would grant US companies greater access to the Chinese market. However, those negotiations have produced little in terms of a firm commitment, with China offering to buy almost $ 70 billion in energy, agricultural and manufactured products from the United States, but only if the White House suspends tariffs on Chinese products.
So far, the White House has given no indication that it plans to move away from its tariff threat, which President Trump and his advisers see as a US influence in the negotiations with Beijing. But while the administration is expected to detail on Friday the final list of assets it plans to submit to rates, it can include them to allow for ongoing discussions, according to people familiar with the administration's plans.
In early April, the Trump administration delineated a preliminary list of approximately $ 50 billion in Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs, including televisions, medical devices, aircraft parts and batteries. Since then, he has refined the list based on comments from business people, business groups and other industry representatives, who testified at public hearings in Washington in mid-May.
Still, any plan to impose tariffs, even on only a subset of Chinese products – could restart a trade war between the two largest economies in the world. China has threatened its own retaliatory tariffs against US products, including soybeans, pork and steel. Mr. Trump responded by saying that his administration would consider liens on another $ 100 billion in Chinese products, although that list has not been finalized or publicly published.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday that the president's business team had met to discuss China's tariffs, but did not confirm when the list would be launched or when the rates would come into effect. . The White House has said earlier that its levies will come into effect shortly after a list of affected products is published before June 15, and that restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States will follow.
Officials of the Trump administration have engaged in internal debates in recent weeks on how to proceed with China. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, have been pushing for a more modest agreement that satisfies Mr. Trump's desire to reduce the trade deficit. Peter Navarro, commercial advisor to Mr. Trump, and Robert E. Lighthizer, trade representative of the United States, have called for deeper structural reforms to China's industrial policy.
But negotiations with China have been complicated by Mr. Trump's diplomatic dance with North Korea, given the participation of Chinese President Xi Jinping to help facilitate nuclear talks. Some observers said the fact that the talks with North Korea seemed to have gone well could give Trump more room to punish China now.
"Key administration officials would have reached a consensus that some sanctions are now justified by the lack of progress in the negotiations, and that China is unlikely to derail the ongoing process in North Korea because it is so consistent with their security interests, "said Scott Kennedy, an expert in China at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
sir. Trump has tried to stay unpredictable in negotiations with China, ordering up to $ 150 billion in proposed tariffs and asking the Treasury Department to develop a plan for restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States.
However, Mr. Trump also offered concessions. He directed his Department of Commerce to offer life-saving equipment to ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications company that was about to close, as a result of severe sanctions for violating US sanctions. At the request of Mr. Xi, the Department of Commerce agreed to an agreement with ZTE that included a fine of $ 1 billion and the installation of a new compliance team.
Business groups have protested that tariffs on China's products would disrupt their supply chains, and that Beijing's reprisals could put valuable markets at risk.
"Tariffs are the wrong answer to China's current discriminatory and harmful business practices," said Dean Garfield, chairman of the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents some of the largest technology companies in the world. country. "By imposing tariffs on consumer goods and key components of such goods, the president would unnecessarily remove money from the pockets of the Americans, harming the people he hopes to help, not punishing China."
No formal business meetings between the United States and the United States are currently scheduled, but the talks have continued.
Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, met on Thursday in Beijing with Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, to discuss the situation with North Korea, and said they also talked about trade.
"Our deficit with China is still too high," said Pompeo. "I emphasized the importance of President Trump rectifying that situation so that trade is more balanced, more reciprocal and more just, with the opportunity for US workers to be treated fairly."
In an interview on Fox News which was broadcast on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump suggested that China had loosened its border with North Korea because it was frustrated by the strength with which it is restricting trade. Mr. Trump said that in the next two weeks his drastic approach to dealing with China in trade would be evident.
"They understand what we are doing," Trump said.
But stoking the trade dispute with China involves great risks, given that the United States is waging separate commercial battles with Europe, Canada and Mexico for the imposition of tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. Those countries have threatened to retaliate with their own tariffs, and Mexico is already applying tariffs on US products worth $ 3 billion.
On Thursday, the 28 member states of the European Union unanimously approved a plan to impose import duties of 2,800 million euros "value of American products, according to Kinga Malinowska, a spokeswoman for the office of the European commissioner of commerce , Cecilia Malmstrom
Canada is willing to put retaliatory tariffs on a variety of US products on July 1 if the United States does not backtrack from its metal tariffs.
On Thursday, Chrystia Freeland, minister of Foreign relations of Canada, met with Mr. Lighthizer to discuss the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is in doubt due to disagreements between the United States and Canada and Mexico.
In a speech on Wednesday In the evening, Mrs. Freeland offered a severe reproach to the protectionist trade policy of the United States and said that Mr. Trump's riffs were "a The United States put its thumb on the scale, in violation of the same rules it helped write. "
Milan Schreuer contributed to the Brussels reports.