Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Trump was considering pushing back the target date on March 1 by another 60 days, allowing more time for negotiations before the White House raises tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese imports as planned. A 90-day halt to the trade war was agreed upon by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping following a formal dinner at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The decision comes as the latest round of trade talks are underway, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer meeting with Chinese delegates in Beijing to hammer out a deal that addresses China’s intellectual property as well as economic practices. A separate meeting between Lighthizer and Xi is also expected this week.
“I think it’s going along very well,” Trump told reporters this week. “They’re showing us tremendous respect.”
The world’s two largest economies have been embroiled in a nearly yearlong financial tit for tat that has already seen levies on $250 billion in Chinese goods. In retaliation, China has slapped duties on $110 billion of U.S. products. (The most recent tranche of tariffs already affects clothing and accessories, including handbags and wallets, with the fourth set, which would hit $257 billion in goods, expected to impact footwear.)
Trump has reiterated the importance of meeting with Xi before settling on a deal. However, in a gathering last week at the Oval Office, he indicated that it was unlikely he would sit down with his Chinese counterpart in the next month or so. Separately, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said that the two world leaders could potentially meet at Trump’s personal estate at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
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