Trump to slam tariff on $300bn Chinese goods

Trump to slam tariff on $300bn Chinese goods
U.S. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China.

President Donald Trump said the US would hit China with tariffs on roughly $300 billion worth of its products while the two sides continued trade negotiations.

In tweets on Thursday, he said he would expand tariffs to virtually all imports from China on September 1, marking a significant escalation in a more than yearlong trade war between the largest economies.

With $250 billion worth of goods already subject to a 25% tariff, the move would place a tax on virtually all shipments from China.

He accused China of reneging just days after high-level negotiations resumed between the two sides, saying it had not yet followed through with pledges to buy more American agricultural products and reduce the flow of fentanyl into the US.

“Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States – this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!” Trump said.

He added that the US and China would continue “positive dialogue” despite the escalation. 

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin resumed talks with their Chinese counterparts in Shanghai this week, but there was little evidence of progress.

The Trump administration has struggled to win concrete commitments from China on issues identified last year in its Section 301 investigation, which has also led to retaliatory tariffs on roughly $110 billion worth of American products.

Trump has oscillated between optimism toward a deal and escalation threats in recent months. On Tuesday, he said China would have to make significant progress in negotiations with the US or risk “no deal at all.”

Nearly a dozen rounds of trade talks stalled in May after Washington said Beijing reversed on commitments, prompting Trump to raise tariffs on a large swath of imports from China.

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