US President Donald Trump has reportedly given a go ahead to additional tariffs on Chinese goods worth about $200 billion. The instruction to aides comes despite attempts by the Treasury to restart talks with Beijing.
The news was initially reported by Bloomberg and Fox News and later confirmed by Reuters. According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration has decided to delay the public announcement of the measure “based on concerns raised in public comments.”
Trump ordered the new salvo in his trade war with China after meeting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Bloomberg sources said. Mnuchin was earlier trying to kick-start negotiations with China, which responded in kind to the previous round of 25-percent tariffs on goods worth $50 billion and promised to act likewise in the future.
After the period of public comments on the proposed tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods expired last week, Trump announced they would be imposed soon, but didn’t offer a timetable. The president said the US has the upper hand in the trade war with Beijing and threatened to expand tariffs to virtually all Chinese imports.
Trump started trade conflicts with a number of partners, including US ally the EU, stating that trade deficit hurt America. The policy is apparently meant to make domestic production in the US more competitive, compared to foreign manufacturers.