August 19, 2019

President Trump Delays Tariffs On Some Chinese Products, But China Threatens Retaliation Anyway

Less than two weeks after President Donald Trump announced that he would impose tariffs on all remaining products from China starting on September 1, 2019, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) reversed course last Tuesday and said the Trump administration would wait until at least December 15, 2019 to raise penalties on about half of the products.

The USTR provided a list of products that fall under the delay. The list includes several steel products and some aluminum-based consumer products. According to Axios, the products subject to the delay are all “products where 75 percent or more of the 2018 U.S. imports of that product were from China.” Some also are qualified as important to the national security of the United States.

This list of products, which includes a significant number of metals products, still will be subject to tariffs starting on September 1.

Chinese officials responded to the announcement by saying they would retaliate if the United States imposes anynew tariffs on imports from the country. In a statement posted on the Chinese Ministry of Finance’s website, the government said President Trump’s decision to move forward with another round of penalties “seriously violated” the consensus he reached with President Xi Jinping when they met last year at the G-20 in Osaka, Japan.

Meanwhile, while U.S. and Chinese officials have agreed to meet again in September in Washington, D.C., it does not appear a date for those discussions has been scheduled. In an interview on CNBC last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he is not aware of a set time. Secretary Ross also suggested there will be phone conversations between the two countries before the in-person meeting.