US China Tariffs: Tensions Rise on Negotiations
US CHINA TARIFFS – China “broke the deal,” according to US President Donald Trump, who vowed to impose new tariffs on Chinese imports. China has in turn said it was ready to retaliate.
According to the US Trade Representative’s office last Friday, the US was ready to slap $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs that would be increased to 25 percent from 10 percent.
On Wednesday, Trump accused China of breaking the deal, stating that China would pay if an agreement isn’t reached.
“I just announced that we’ll increase tariffs on China and we won’t back down until China stops cheating our workers and stealing our jobs, and that’s what’s going to happen, otherwise we don’t have to do business with them,” said Trump at a rally in Florida.
Meanwhile, China responded by saying it would retaliate if the threatened tariff increase was implemented.
“The escalation of trade friction is not in the interest of the people of the two countries and the people of the world,” said the Chinese Commerce Ministry. “The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the US tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures.”
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and other Chinese negotiators are headed to Washington in an attempt to salvage a trade agreement that has quickly and suddenly fallen apart after a week of optimistic expectations for an end to the tit-for-tat trade dispute between the world’s top two economic powerhouses.
Details of what caused the sudden blowing up of the trade negotiations have since surfaced.
Last weekend, China reportedly called for substantial changes to the negotiating text, which prompted Trump to threaten China using higher tariffs.
It is still unclear whether the two sides could hammer out a form of agreement before the tariffs come into effect on Friday.
“We’ve gotten an indication they want to make a deal,” according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is the White House press secretary.
On the flipside, China experts were doubtful; saying that Liu He’s priority would be to gather information on how the countries could proceed. He would also try to forestall an increase in the US president’s tariffs.
“I think a deal this week is highly unlikely, because the optics of it would be very difficult to China,” said Eswar Prasad, who is the former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division. “There is an enormous level of distrust between the two sides.”
“In my study of Chinese negotiating tactics, in almost every case, they believe the end game is where they can score the most points,” said Michael Pillsbury, who is a China scholar at the Hudson Institute and an advisor on China to the White House. “They’ll be totally prepared for this final phase.”
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