USTR to delay some China tariffs, talks to resume
In the continuing trade dispute with China, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced Tuesday that tariffs on some items will be delayed until Dec. 15, apparently to allow stores to stock up for the Christmas season. There were also reports that trade talks will resume.
President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that a call between U.S. and Chinese officials “was very productive. I’m not sure if it was the tariffs or the call, but the call was very productive. Again, they’ve said this many times; they’ve said they’re going to buy farm products. So far, they’ve disappointed me with the truth. They haven’t been truthful, or, let’s say, they’ve certainly delayed the decision. But it’s their intention to buy a lot of farm product.”
USTR did not say how it chose the items on which the tariffs would be delayed, but Axios reported that USTR sent trade groups an email that the list of goods that won’t be subject to a 10% tariff until Dec. 15 is made up of “products where 75% or more of the 2018 U.S. imports of that product were from China.”
Axios also reported that President Donald Trump told reporters that the tariff move was an attempt to provide some relief for retailers — and ultimately consumers, who could face higher prices if the additional costs from tariffs are passed on.
In an analysis, Axios said, “It was the first time Trump publicly acknowledged that consumers would be hurt by tariffs. He has previously claimed that China pays tariffs directly into the U.S. Treasury, which is not correct.”
Axios added, “The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and China’s Vice Premier Liu He spoke on Tuesday and that the parties would commence trade talks within the next two weeks.”