- The US is set to increase tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods at midnight.
- The Trump administration has said that the increase is because China reneged on previously agreed upon elements of a still unfinished trade deal between the two countries.
- Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is in Washington, DC, for negotiations.
- In China, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce denied that the country had backtracked on any agreements.
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Just hours before President Donald Trump’s deadline for raising tariffs on the country’s goods, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce denied the US claims that negotiators from Beijing reneged on previously made agreements during trade talks.
“The U.S. side has given many labels recently, ‘backtracking’, ‘betraying’ etc…China sets great store on trustworthiness and keeps its promises, and this has never changed,” Gao Feng, a Commerce Ministry spokesperson, said at a press conference on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Trump, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin all said that the Chinese had walked back some key promises during the latest round of negotiations. The two sides are seeking a deal to end a yearlong trade war and lower tariffs on roughly $US360 billion worth of goods flowing between the US and China.
The text deleted from the agreement draft dealt with intellectual-property theft, trade secrets, forced technology transfers, competition policy, access to financial services, and currency manipulation, Reuters reported.
Feng told reporters that the Chinese officials in Washington, led by Vice Premier Liu He, are still seeking to strike a deal before the US is set to raise tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods at midnight.
“We hope the US can meet China halfway, take care of each others’ concerns, and resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultations,” Feng said.
At 12:01 a.m. ET, the US will increase the 10% tariff rate on the $US200 billion tranche of goods to 25%, a drastic escalation of the trade war. China has already promised to respond with measures of their own.
During a press conference at the White House on Thursday, Trump was uncertain about whether the world’s two largest economies would be able to strike a deal before the deadline.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” the president said.
Here’s a timeline of the US-China trade war so far:
- March 1, 2018: Trump announces tariffs on all imports of steel and aluminium, including metals from China.
- March 22, 2018: Trump announces plans to impose 25% tariffs on $US50 billion worth of Chinese goods. China announces tariffs in retaliation to the steel and aluminium duties and promises a response to the latest US announcement.
- April 3, 2018: The US trade representative announces a list of Chinese goods subject to the tariffs. There is a mandatory 60-day comment period for industries to ask for exemptions from the tariffs.
- April 4, 2018: China rolls out a list of more than 100 US goods worth roughly $US50 billion that are subject to retaliatory tariffs.
- May 21, 2018: After a meeting, the two countries announce the outline of a trade deal to avoid the tariffs.
- May 29, 2018: The White House announces that the tariffs on $US50 billion worth of Chinese goods will move forward, with the final list of goods released June 15. The move appears to wreck the nascent trade deal.
- June 15, 2018: Trump rolls out the final list of goods subject to new tariffs. Chinese imports worth $US34 billion would be subject to the new 25% tariff rate as of July 6, with another $US16 billion worth of imports subject to the tariff at a later date. China retaliates with an equivalent set of tariffs.
- June 18, 2018: Trump threatens 10% tariffs on another $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
- July 6, 2018: The first tranche of tariffs on $US34 billion worth of Chinese goods takes effect;China responds in kind.
- July 10, 2018: The US releases an initial list of an additional $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be subject to 10% tariffs.
- August 1, 2018: Washington more than doubles the value of its tariff threats against Beijing, announcing plans to increase the size of proposed duties on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.
- August 3, 2018: China says it will impose tariffs of various rates on another $US60 billion worth of US goods if Trump moves forward with his latest threat.
- August 7, 2018: The US announces that the second tranche of tariffs, which would hit $US16 billion worth of Chinese goods, will take effect August 23.
- August 23, 2018: The US imposes tariffs on another $US16 billion worth of Chinese goods, and Beijing responds with tariffs on $US16 billion worth of US goods.
- September 7, 2018: Trump says the tranche of tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods is coming “soon” and threatens to impose tariffs on another $US267 billion worth of Chinese goods.
- September 17, 2018:The US imposes tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and the tariff rate is scheduled to increase to 25% from 10% on January 1.
- December 1, 2018: Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sit down at the G20 summit in Argentina, where the two leaders hash out a trade truce, delaying the escalation of US tariffs until March 1.
- December 4, 2018: Despite the truce, Trump tweets that he is still a “Tariff Man” and says a deal will get done only if it is in the best interest of the US.
- February 24: After a series of negotiations, Trump announces that US tariffs will not increase on March 1. He delays the increase indefinitely.
- May 5: After apparent progress in talks, Trump suddenly threatens to raise tariffs to 25% within the week and threatens new tariffs on another $US325 billion of Chinese goods.
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