WASHINGTON — The Trump administration escalated its fight with China on Wednesday, saying that President Trump is considering raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent, as trade talks between Washington and Beijing remain at a stalemate.Senior administration officials said in a briefing with reporters that Mr. Trump…
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration escalated its fight with China on Wednesday, saying that President Trump is considering raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent, as trade talks between Washington and Beijing remain at a stalemate.
Senior administration officials said in a briefing with reporters that Mr. Trump has directed the United States trade representative to consider increasing tariffs on Chinese imports like fish, petroleum, chemicals, handbags and other goods to 25 percent. A final decision on the size and scope of the tariffs is not expected before September.
The effort to further punish China is being led by hard-line advisers to Mr. Trump, who see the measure as a way to force Beijing back to the negotiating table on trade. But that approach is once again creating fissures within Mr. Trump’s own team, with his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, adamantly opposed to ratcheting up the tariffs and Peter Navarro, a key trade adviser, advocating for the higher levies, according to people familiar with the discussions. Stephen K. Bannon, who left the White House in August, has also been counseling the president to pursue tougher levies, according to people familiar with his thinking.
The potential for a 25 percent tax is being fueled by deep frustration within the Trump administration over its unsuccessful attempts to press China to change its trade practices, as well as by a sharp decline in the value of China’s currency. Administration officials have also been concerned that China may be manipulating commodity prices to harm American farmers, and hurting American companies through regulatory practices, for example holding up shipments of agricultural products in customs until they rot.
warned China against further depreciation of its currency as part of a flurry of early-morning tweets nearly two weeks ago.
Group of 20 last week and said that he had been in touch with Liu He, a high-ranking Chinese official charged with negotiating with the United States, to see if he was planning on coming to the meeting. However, China had decided not to send its most senior officials, so no bilateral discussion was held, Mr. Mnuchin said.
China has been looking for solutions that would end the trade spat without requiring the country to making policy concessions that might limit the country’s future economic growth, according to people familiar with Chinese economic policymaking, who where not authorized to speak publicly.
they are bearing the brunt of the trade war as China raises the price on imported soybeans and other agriculture products that it typically buys from farms.
“Increasing the size of the tariffs is merely increasing the harm that will be done,” said Matthew Shay, the president of the National Retail Federation. “Tariffs are an unacceptable gamble with the U.S. economy and the stakes continue to rise with no end in sight.”
Last week, the Trump administration announced it would offer farmers up to $12 billion in subsidies to help compensate them for losses incurred as a result of the trade measures. But to offer the same level of aid to other industries that have been affected by retaliation from abroad, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated in an analysis that it would cost the administration an additional $27 billion.
A public hearing about the $200 billion list is scheduled for late August, when American companies and individuals will be able to tell the United States trade representative which products they think should be on or off the list.