Published: Thu, November 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump threatens higher tariffs if China doesn't make trade deal

Trump threatens higher tariffs if China doesn't make trade deal

The phase-one portion of the deal hinges on the US delaying some pending tariff increases and China agreeing to buy a certain amount of Midwest farm crops, but the two sides are struggling to even get that modest compromise to the finish line.

"If talks are really going well, that hike will be suspended", said Christian Whiton, a senior fellow for strategy and trade at the Centre for the National Interest, and a former Trump and George W. Bush administration adviser.

Reports of a potential delay in a partial trade pact between China and the U.S.is bringing back shades of the ugly stock-market downturn in May for some investors. "If we don't make a deal with China, I'll just raise the tariffs even higher", Trump threatened. The two countries returned to the negotiating table in the fall after the 19-month standoff caused the US and Chinese economies to slide.

The Baird strategist said the market has drifted higher on the strength of the consumer even as economic data have betrayed signs of weakness in manufacturing, threatening the US economic expansion in its 11th year.

Two people briefed on the talks have said Trump wants deeper concessions from China in order to roll back existing tariffs and cancel additional tariffs on some $156 billion in Chinese consumer goods scheduled to take effect December 15.

"Negotiations are continuing and progress is being made on the text of the phase-one agreement", White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email yesterday afternoon.

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Bloomberg News said a new hurdle is Hong Kong related bill in the U.S. Congress seeking Trump's signature placing conditions of annual reviews of its special status and sanctioning officials curbing its autonomy. "Is Xi really going to be invited for a grip-and-grin with the president as his cops are beating students in Hong Kong?"

The U.S. and China are struggling to complete a "skinny" trade deal after almost two years of wrangling.

The demand has USA officials wondering if higher Chinese purchases of United States farm goods, promises of improved access to China's financial services industry, and pledges to protect intellectual property were enough to ask in return. Some reports said December 15, could be the date to watch out when 15 percent tariffs on $156 billion worth Chinese goods will take effect and cover gift items like electronics and Christmas decorations.

Nonetheless, Chinese media pundits now also say they are pessimistic about a deal.

According to Reuters, which cited trade experts and people briefed on the talks, negotiations may have become more complicated over the past five weeks.

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