- White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Monday announcements on Chinese tariffs would likely be “coming soon.”
- The US and China had been considering holding high-level trade talks next week.
- China said it would pull out of those talks and retaliate if the Trump administration imposes additional tariffs.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Monday that announcements regarding another round of tariffs on Chinese imports would likely be “coming soon,” raising concerns for a major escalation in a trade battle between the world’s two largest economies.
Speaking at the Economic Club of New York, Kudlow said President Donald Trump has not been “satisfied” with trade negotiations between the US and China.
“I think the basic stories are more or less correct,” Kudlow said. The Wall Street Journal reported hours earlier that the Trump administration could follow through with a 10% tariff on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products as soon as Monday.
That would bring the total trade value of affected products to $250 billion, roughly half of what the US imported from China in 2017. Trump had originally suggested a tariff rate of 25% on the next round of Chinese goods.
Kudlow added that the administration is “ready to negotiate and talk with China anytime that they are ready for serious and substantive negotiations.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was leading efforts to restart talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Hu next week, but Beijing has said it would cancel those negotiations if the Trump administration enacts another round of duties.
China has been swift to respond to the first $50 billion worth of Trump’s tariffs in kind and has vowed to push back against further escalations.While China does not import enough products from the US to match the latest round of duties dollar-for-dollar, it could use other punitive measures to retaliate.
Those could include increasing tariff rates or creating administrative hardships for American companies. Former Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said Sunday that Beijing could also restrict exports of goods key to US supply chains, Reuters reports.
When asked why the stock market has not reacted more to escalating trade tensions, Kudlow said tariffs could be a “force for good” in the long run.
But risks of a full-blown trade war between the US and China have kept businesses and consumers on edge in recent months. More than 350 representatives from businesses and companies testified before US Trade Representative officials in Washington in August, most of them warning further taxes on Chinese imports would force them to raise prices and cut jobs.
Trump said last week another $267 billion worth of imports could be targeted soon after, effectively subjecting every Chinese product that enters the US to an import duty.