Trump delivers hard line on new China tariffs threat
US President Donald Trump gives remarks after receiving a helmet from French race car driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 10, 2019.
AFP/Jim Watson
Trump delivers hard line on new China tariffs threat
Sebastian Smith (Agence France-Presse) - June 11, 2019 - 9:06am

WASHINGTON, United States — President Donald Trump warned Monday he will slap huge new tariffs on China if his counterpart Xi Jinping doesn't show up for a planned face-to-face meeting later this month and insisted the Chinese economy will never overtake the United States.

Trump delivered his hardline message ahead of the G20 summit on June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan, which could mark a turning point in the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

Asked if a failure by Xi to come to the summit would lead to tariffs kicking in on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports, Trump told CNBC television: "Yes it would."

Trump said the meeting was "scheduled" and that he expects Xi to attend.

"I would be surprised if he didn't go," Trump said. "I think he's going, I haven't heard that he's not."

However, as US-Chinese tensions mount, a spokesman for Xi's government said last month that he had "no information at present" on Trump-Xi talks.

Trump has been trying to strongarm China into fundamental change on trade policies that the president argues have for decades put the United States at an unfair disadvantage.

The two sides seemed to be close to striking a bargain until talks stalled last month. Washington says that Beijing walked away at the last minute, while the Chinese side has signaled it is prepared for a long fight against unreasonable demands.

Trump has already imposed 25 percent duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports. China has responded with punitive tariffs on $60 billion in US goods.

Last month he threatened to slap tariffs on a further $300 billion of goods -- virtually everything American companies import from China -- if no breakthrough is achieved.

The US Trade Representative office has launched the process to impose the huge new duties, with a hearing scheduled for June 17 -- but Trump has said he has yet to decide whether he will ultimately impose the levies.

'They'll never catch us'

Trump has made tariffs a pillar of his foreign policy, arguing that US economic power puts him in a win-win situation when he threatens rivals like China and even close allies, such as Canada, the European Union and Mexico.

The United States says that China cheats in bilateral trade by forcing US importers to give up intellectual property, subsidizing its own companies, and running a huge trade surplus with Washington.

Trump told CNBC that by ratcheting up tariffs, he can ultimately force manufacturers to leave China.

"Those companies are going to move into other locations and there won't be a tariff," he said.

In a game of tit-for-tat, Trump added, China will lose simply because they have far fewer US imports they can target. "We have the big, big advantage," he said.

"China's going to make a deal because they're going to have to make a deal."

Trump's tariff rattling has spooked global markets and also run into pushback from many in Congress.

But in his lengthy CNBC interview, Trump said he is doing what previous presidents avoided because they "either didn't understand it or they were bored by it or they weren't smart enough."

His overall aim, the Republican said, is to ensure that China never overtakes the United States as the world's top economy. 

"Had a Democrat gotten in..., China would have caught us," he said. Now "they'll never catch us."

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 15, 2020 - 9:21am

US President Donald Trump says North American neighbors Canada and Mexico will get no relief from his new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports unless a "new and fair" free trade agreement is signed.

The Trump administration says the tariffs are necessary to preserve the American industries—and that doing so is a national security imperative. But Trump's latest tweets suggest he's also using the upcoming tariffs as leverage in ongoing talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. The latest round of a nearly year-long renegotiation effort is concluding this week in Mexico City. — Associated Press

August 15, 2020 - 9:21am

Negotiators from the United States and China will discuss the "phase one" trade deal signed earlier this year -- before the coronavirus slammed the world economy and relations between the two economic powers took a turn for the worse.

Washington and Beijing's January deal represented a partial truce in their months-long trade war, and obligated Beijing to import an additional $200 billion in American products over two years, ranging from cars to machinery to oil to farm products.

But purchases of those goods have been lagging, while US President Donald Trump has stepped up rhetoric against China ahead of what's expected to be a tough fight for a second term in the November elections, raising questions about the deal's fate as well as the possibility of a second phase of the truce. — AFP

February 14, 2020 - 8:19am

The United States on Thursday granted Huawei another 45 days to sell to American companies while they search for alternatives to the Chinese telecommunications giant that Washington views as a security threat.

The extension will "allow existing telecommunication providers -- particularly those in rural US communities -- the ability to continue to temporarily and securely operate existing networks," the Commerce Department said in a statement.

The decision to provide yet another extension came hours after Washington hit the company with criminal charges alleging a "decades-long" effort to steal trade secrets from American companies. — AFP

January 16, 2020 - 12:59pm

The United States and China have signed a truce in their trade war after nearly two years of tensions, bringing relief to markets but largely leaving massive tariffs in place.

The 'phase one' deal is also a boon for Donald Trump as he faces an impeachment trial and a tough re-election fight this year, with the president hailing the agreement as "momentous".

However, with tariffs still in place on two-thirds of more than $500 billion in imports from China, US consumers and businesses will be left to foot the bill.

The agreement, part of a wider pact, includes pledges from China to beef up purchases of US agricultural goods and other exports for two years, provides some protections for US technology, and new enforcement mechanisms that allow Washington to quickly impose penalties that Beijing cannot respond to. — AFP

January 15, 2020 - 9:32pm

The United States can increase tariffs on Chinese goods if Beijing fails to live up to the partial trade deal the two countries are set to sign Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says.

"The president has the ability to put on additional tariffs," Mnuchin says on CNBC when asked about how the agreement will be enforced.

The "phase one" agreement will call a truce after nearly two years of trade conflict. — AFP

January 9, 2020 - 5:27pm

China says Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington next week to sign the "phase one" deal with the United States that has lowered trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies.

The signing will cap a nearly two-year spat that threatened to throttle the global economy as the two countries exchanged tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of two-way trade.

Liu, China's top negotiator in the trade conflict, will be in the US capital from Monday to Wednesday to sign the deal, the commerce ministry says. — AFP

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