U.S. Will Place Additional 10% Tariff on $300B in Chinese Imports Starting September


It's been a few weeks without news regarding the ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and China. In a series of tweets yesterday, however, President Donald Trump reported that U.S. trade representatives returned from China talks with disappointing results, and that he would add a "small additional tariff of 10 percent" on $300 billion in Chinese imports, effective Sept. 1.

...buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so. 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! Trade talks are continuing, and...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019

...We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019

This news came as a bit of a surprise, as things have been quiet while the two parties resumed talks in Shanghai, which were the first in-person meetings since the G-20 summit. According to CNBC, the White House called the meetings "constructive" before Trump announced the new tariffs, and added that China reaffirmed its commitment to grow its number of agricultural imports from the U.S.

The White House also confirmed that, despite the additional tariffs announced by the president, the talks will continue in the beginning of September in Washington.

As CNBC reported, it's unclear what exactly caused the U.S. to suddenly walk back the most recent truce with China reached at the G-20 summit. It did come after President Trump received a report from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer from Shanghai. Later the same day, Trump reportedly threatened to raise the tariffs above 25 percent.

It's also unclear how this 10 percent tariff relates to the 25 percent tariff President Trump originally promised for the same $300 billion in Chinese imports back in May. Those tariffs, which included a large number of promotional products (or goods relating to them), never went into effect, and appear to have been superseded by this 10 percent rate. It's possible the Trump administration plans to start there before increasing them to 25 percent, as it did with the first round of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports.

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