WE SAID EARLIER this month after the United States put its trade war with China on hold that that would last only until US President Trump tweets that “it is back on, or was never off or is over”.
We have moved into the ‘back on’ phase.
The Trump administration says it plans to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports by the end of June. The list of goods to be subject to the tariff will be published on June 15. The announcement also promises specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls on “industrially significant technology”.
In a rather resigned-sounding comment, the Commerce Ministry said it was both “surprised and unsurprised” by the announcement.
Wilbur Ross, secretary of its US opposite number, is due in Beijing later this week for a follow-up round of talks to those earlier in the month that led US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to say that the Trump administration would hold off imposing tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese imports for alleged violations of US American intellectual property and unfair trade practices as the two sides were making progress towards a ‘framework’ for cutting China’s $375 billion merchandise trade surplus with the United States.
So the latest White House announcement may be Trump indulging in his new favourite negotiating tactic of cutting up rough ahead of talks.