With President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China raising concerns about the global economic outlook, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer offered a temporary reprieve on Tuesday by announcing a delay in imposing new tariffs on certain Chinese products.
Lighthizer said the 10 percent tariff set to take effect on September 1st should be delayed until December 15th for certain products.
The products benefiting from the delay include cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.
Additionally, the USTR announced certain unidentified products will be removed from the tariff list entirely based on health, safety, national security and other factors.
Lighthizer said the delay is part of the USTR’s public comment and hearing process and noted it intends to conduct an exclusion process for products subject to the additional tariffs.
The USTR said it will publish additional details and lists of the tariff lines affected by this announcement on its website later today.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after Trump announced plans to impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, sparking a sell-off on Wall Street.
Trump recently indicated he feels no sense of urgency to resolve the trade dispute with China, suggesting the U.S. could skip the next round of trade talks in September.
“We’ll see whether or not we keep our meeting in September. If we do, that’s fine. If we don’t, that’s fine,” Trump told reporters last Friday. “But it’s time that somebody does what we’re doing.”
Trump denied that Americans are paying the price for his trade war with China, arguing that Beijing’s efforts to depress their currency prove that the Chinese are “paying for it.”
“I want them to do well. But as of this moment, they’re having the worst year that they’ve had in many, many years — in decades,” he added. “And really, we’re just bringing the system back into order.”
The president also commented on the trade war with China in a post on Twitter this morning ahead of the announcement by the USTR.
“Through massive devaluation of their currency and pumping vast sums of money into their system, the tens of billions of dollars that the U.S. is receiving is a gift from China,” Trump tweeted. “Prices not up, no inflation. Farmers getting more than China would be spending. Fake News won’t report!”
He later added, “As usual, China said they were going to be buying ‘big’ from our great American Farmers. So far they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different!”
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