WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Trump set out to impose "quite significant" tariffs on Chinese goods, a government official said on Thursday, while Beijing warned that it was ready to respond if Washington opted to increase trade. Tensions
Trump will release reviews of its initial list of tariffs targeting $ 50 billion of Chinese products on Friday. The list will contain 800 product categories, compared to the previous 1,300, according to another administration official and an industry source familiar with the list.
Trump no longer believes that Beijing's influence on North Korea is a strong reason to soften the trade talks now that his administration has opened a line of direct communication with the country with nuclear weapons, said the first official of the administration.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin argued against the imposition of tariffs at a White House meeting on Thursday, but was not expected to prevail, the official said.
The Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councilor Wang Yi, said his country was prepared to respond if Trump applied the tariffs.
Talking to reporters in Beijing, with the US Secretary of State. UU., Mike Pompeo at his side, Wang said there were two options when it came to the commercial issue.
"The first option is cooperation and mutual benefit, the other option is confrontation and mutual loss, China chooses the first," Wang said. "We hope that the US side can also do the same." Of course, we have also made preparations to respond to the second type of election. "
The movement towards the imposition of US tariffs on Chinese products follows negotiations between US and Chinese officials focused on increasing purchases of US agricultural and energy products to cut the US trade deficit with China.
The Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, met with Chinese officials in Beijing this month and brought a Chinese proposal to buy about $ 70 billion in additional products and manufactured products. But that offer has not been accepted by Trump, said people familiar with the issue.
Wang said the two countries had agreed to use "constructive means" to handle disagreements.
Pompeo said that the US deficit UU With China it was still too high, but they had good conversations.
"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 receive fair treatment," he said.
Pompeo met with Chinese President Xi Jinping later in the evening, and wished Xi a happy birthday for Friday.
Xi told Pompeo that he hoped the United States could handle "carefully and appropriately" sensitive issues to avoid "major unrest" in Sino-US relations, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
MOVE COULD COME ON FRIDAY
The International Monetary Fund He warned that Trump's new tariffs threaten to undermine the world trade system, provoke reprisals from other countries and damage the US economy. UU
It is not clear when Trump will activate the rates, if he decides to do so. Several industry lobbies told Reuters that they expected the measure to come as early as Friday, with the publication of a notice from the Federal Register, or that it could be postponed until next week.
If Washington adopts tariffs, Beijing is expected to respond with its own tariffs to US imports, including soy, automobiles, chemicals and airplanes, according to a list it published in early April.
According to the trade law of 1974 that Trump invoked to carry out a tariff investigation on China's intellectual property practices, it could delay activation in 30 days. Nor could it delay tariffs for another 180 days if the office of the US Trade Representative finds that the negotiations with China are paying off.
A USTR spokeswoman could not be reached immediately for comment.
In an interview broadcast on Wednesday, Trump told Fox News he was "putting a lot of pressure on trade" with China.
When asked how hard Trump said, "Well, I firmly believe, I mean you'll see it in the next two weeks, they understand what we're doing."
Trump did not specifically mention the tariffs and added that he had "a very good relationship with President Xi (Jinping) from China. "
The administration's commercial hawks, including United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House trade and manufacturing consultant Peter Navarro, have called for a stricter approach to address State allegations United that China has misappropriated acquisitions of American technology companies and total theft.
Amid growing trade tension, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said that Chinese exporters have been loading their shipments due to changes in the international trade environment.
Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Michael Martina in Beijing; Written by Andy Sullivan and Ben Blanchard; edition of Clarence Fernández, Alison Williams and Leslie Adler