Washington: President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that the US will impose an additional 10 per cent tariff on USD 300 billion in Chinese imports, as he accused China of not being serious in arriving at the trade deal and failing to keep its promise to buy more American agricultural products.
In a series of tweet, Trump said the new tariff, in addition to the 25 per cent on goods worth USD 250 billion that was previously in place, would come into effect from September 1. The announcement came a day after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from Shanghai after two days of latest round of trade negotiations with China. "Our representatives have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future trade deal," Trump tweeted.
"We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to re-negotiate the deal prior to signing. More recently, China agreed to buy agricultural product from the US in large quantities, but did not do so," Trump said. "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!" said the president.
"Trade talks are continuing, and during the talks the US will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional tariff of 10 percent on the remaining 300 billion dollars of goods and products coming from China into our country," Trump tweeted. "This does not include the 250 billion dollars already tariffed at 25 per cent. 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!" said the US President.
Since the commencement of trade war last year China and US have so far hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than USD 360 billion in two-way trade. Trump kicked off the trade war demanding China to reduce massive trade deficit which last year climbed to over USD 539 billion. He is also insisting on China to workout verifiable measures for protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets.
The 12th round of talks between top trade negotiators from China and US, the first after they broke down in May, lasted just half a day and ended with no sign of a breakthrough, but a willingness to continue discussions. The talks were held in Shanghai unlike the previous rounds which took place in Beijing and Washington. The abrupt end of talks sparked speculation that a trade deal was unlikely before the 2020 US presidential elections.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham on Wednesday said, "The meetings were constructive, and we expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington DC, in early September." "The two sides discussed topics such as forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture. The Chinese side confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of US agricultural exports," Grisham said in a statement.
Trade talks between US and China started last November at the direction of President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, when the two leaders during their meeting in Argentina on the sidelines of the G-20 summit asked their officials to conclude a trade deal in 100 days. The deadline was extended till May. It was resumed last month.
By Lalit K Jha/PTI