20 April 2019
Donald Trump is said to have made up his mind on tariffs targeting Chinese goods. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump is said to have made up his mind on tariffs targeting Chinese goods. Photo: Reuters

Trump seen unveiling tariffs on Chinese goods with revised list

US President Donald Trump has made up his mind to impose “pretty significant” tariffs on Chinese goods, with a revised list likely to be announced as soon as Friday, Reuters reports, citing unidentified American officials.

Trump will unveil revisions to his initial tariff list targeting US$50 billion of Chinese goods, pruning the list to 800 product categories, from 1,300 previously, according to the report.

Trump no longer believes that Beijing’s influence over North Korea is a compelling reason to ease up on trade talks now that his administration has opened up a direct line of communication with Pyongyang, a source was quoted as saying.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is said to have argued against imposing the tariffs at a White House meeting on Thursday but he is not expected to prevail.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said his country is prepared to respond if Trump went ahead with the tariffs.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at his side, Wang said there are two choices when it comes to the trade issue.

“The first choice is cooperation and mutual benefit. The other choice is confrontation and mutual loss. China chooses the first,” Wang said.

“We hope the US side can also make the same wise choice. Of course, we have also made preparations to respond to the second kind of choice.”

The move toward imposing US tariffs on Chinese goods follows negotiations between US and Chinese officials centered on increased purchases by Beijing of American farm and energy commodities and cutting America’s trade deficit with China.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this month met Chinese officials in Beijing and brought back a Chinese proposal to buy around US$70 billion worth of additional commodities and manufactured goods.

But that offer has not been accepted by Trump, sources told Reuters.

If Washington adopts tariffs, Beijing is expected to hit back with its own duties on US imports, including soybeans, cars, chemicals and planes, according to a list it released in early April.

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