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April 22, 2019

U.S. To Continue Trade Discussions With China, Japan, But Also Adds More Tariffs On Chinese Products

After continuing trade negotiations via phone last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have agreed to travel to Beijing to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing the week of April 29. Liu, then, will come to Washington, D.C. the following week.

The two sides are expected to continue a detailed review of potential text of a trade agreement and to continue to work to resolve outstanding issues. Those issues include which tariffs to keep and place and which to eliminate, enforcement of any potential deal, intellectual property, technology transfer and industrial policies.

Also last week: Trade Representative Lighthizer and Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi met for two days on a potential trade deal and, at the end of the meeting “reaffirmed their shared goal of achieving substantive results on trade” and agreed that the U.S. and Japan will meet again “in the near future to continue these talks.” In a statement, the USTR said “The United States and Japan discussed trade issues involving goods, including agriculture, as well as the need to establish high standards in the area of digital trade. In addition, the United States raised its very large trade deficit with Japan – $67.6 billion in goods in 2018.”

The news about ongoing trade negotiations with China came despite the fact that the U.S. Commerce Department announced it will direct U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits on Chinese steel wheel imports based on preliminary dumping rates that range from 37.7 percent to 43.7 percent. The penalties will apply to steel wheels that are 12 inches-16.5 inches in diameter. The duty rates may be revised pending a Commerce final determination that is scheduled for around July 1, 2019.

In related news: the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced a second batch of Chinese products for which it will grant exclusion requests from the Trump administration’s Section 301 tariff list. These exclusions date back to the initial imposition date of tariffs, July 6, and will be valid until April 17, 2020. Additional exclusion requests – about half of those filed so far – continue to work their way through the process.