The U.S. is preparing to announce by early December tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports if talks next month between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping fail to ease the trade war, three people familiar with the matter said.
An early-December announcement of a new product list would mean the effective date — after a 60-day public comment period — may coincide with China’s Lunar New Year holiday in early February. The list would would apply to the imports from the Asian nation that aren’t already covered by previous rounds of tariffs — which may be $257 billion using last year’s import figures, according to two of the people.
U.S. officials are preparing for such a scenario in case a planned Trump-Xi meeting yields no progress on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires in November, according to two of the people, who declined to be identified to discuss internal deliberations. They cautioned that final decisions had not been made.
The move indicates the Trump administration remains willing to escalate its trade war with China even as companies complain about the rising costs of tariffs and financial markets continue to be nervous about the global economic fallout.
Stocks erase gains partly on concern about an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies. The S&P 500 Index was little changed at 2,662.39 at 2:15 p.m. in New York, after earlier rising as much as 1.8 percent.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to give specifics when asked about the importance of the meeting. “I’m not going to get ahead of the conversation,” she said in Monday’s press briefing. “You have two of the most powerful leaders in the world. I think that’s consequential no matter how you look at it and we’ll see what happens when they sit down.”
The U.S. this year has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion in trade with China. Ten percent tariffs on $200 billion in imports that took effect in September are due to increase to 25 percent on Jan. 1. Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs on the remaining goods imports from China, which last year were worth $550 billion.
“We are in the middle of a pretty nasty dispute. We’re in a trade dispute — I want to use that word because it’s a nice, soft word — but we’re going to win,” Trump said on Saturday at an event in Indiana. “You know why? ’Cause we always win.”
More News On TRADE WAR:
Trump warns China he has BILLIONS of dollars in new tariffs. The US President said he would like to strike a deal now but that China was not ready. He said: “I think that we will make a great deal with China and it has to be great, because they’ve drained our country.” Washington is reported to be preparing to announce tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if talks next month between Mr Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping fail to ease the trade war.
The US has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China has responded with retaliatory duties on $110 billion worth of goods going the other way.
Mr Trump said: “I have $267 billion waiting to go if we can’t make a deal.”
He has long threatened to impose tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports into the US if Beijing fails to meet his demands for sweeping changes to trade, technology transfer and industrial subsidy policies. Mr Trump and Mr Xi could meet if, as expected, they both attend next month’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China and the US have all along been in communication about exchanges at all levels, including a possible Xi-Trump meeting in Argentina.