United States President Donald Trump has ordered his top officials to begin the process to raise tariffs on almost all the imports from China, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Friday.
This amounts to about USD 300 billion. This is in addition to the Chinese imports worth USD200 billion on which Trump increased the import duty from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, beginning Friday.
“Earlier today, at the direction of the President, the United States increased the level of tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports,” Lighthizer said.
“The President also ordered us to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately USD300 billion,” he said.
The process for public notice and comment will be published shortly in the Federal Register. “The details will be on the USTR website on Monday as we begin the process prior to a final decision on these tariffs,” Lighthizer said.
Expected to escalate a trade war between US and China, the latest Trump move came as the Chinese Vice Premier concluded his two days of trade talks with the US team led by Lighthizer.
In a series of tweets, Trump described the talks as candid and constructive but indicated taking a tough approach against the massive imbalance of trade with China.
“Over the course of the past two days, the United States and China have held candid and constructive conversations on the status of the trade relationship between both countries,” he said.
“The relationship between President Xi and myself remains a very strong one, and conversations into the future will continue,” he added.
“In the meantime, the United States has imposed Tariffs on China, which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!” Trump said.
Tariffs will bring in “far more” wealth to the United States than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind. “Also, much easier & quicker to do. Our Farmers will do better, faster, and starving nations can now be helped. Waivers on some products will be granted, or go to new source!” he said in another tweet.
“If we bought 15 Billion Dollars of Agriculture from our Farmers, far more than China buys now, we would have more than 85 Billion Dollars left over for new Infrastructure, Healthcare, or anything else. China would greatly slow down, and we would automatically speed up!” Trump said.
Referring to his latest direction, Trump said that the process has begun to place additional Tariffs at 25 per cent on the remaining 325 Billion Dollars. “The US only sells China approximately 100 Billion Dollars of goods and products, a very big imbalance,” he said.
“With the over 100 Billion Dollars in Tariffs that we take in, we will buy agricultural products from our Great Farmers, in larger amounts than China ever did, and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance. In the meantime, we will continue to negotiate with China in the hopes that they do not again try to redo deal!” said the US President.
Trump said he is in no rush to conclude trade talks with China.
“Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner – there is absolutely no need to rush – as Tariffs are NOW being paid to the United States by China of 25 per cent on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products. These massive payments go directly to the Treasury of the U.S….,” he said.
“We have lost 500 Billion Dollars a year, for many years, on Crazy Trade with China. NO MORE!” Trump said.