Taking to Twitter, Trump wrote a four-part tweet addressing the United States’ recent negotiations with China, stating that, starting Sept. 1, the United States would slap additional duties of 10% on incoming consumer goods from China — likely hitting footwear and apparel. It represents the fourth tranche of tariffs, the latest proposed levy in Washington’s tit-for-tat trade dispute with Beijing.
“Our representatives have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future trade deal,” he said. “We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to renegotiate the deal prior to signing.”
Trump added, “More recently, China agreed to buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so. Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States — this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!”
The president wrote, “We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive trade deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!”
Just yesterday, delegates from the world’s two economic powerhouses — including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — wrapped up another round of high-level trade talks in Shanghai, where Chinese media reported “frank, efficient and constructive in-depth exchanges” between the two parties on issues including China’s purchase of agricultural products from the U.S.
It marked the first face-to-face discussions between the two countries since failed negotiations nearly three months ago, leading to Trump’s tariff hike from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and a threat to increase levies on another $300 billion worth of products. Today via Twitter, Trump made good on that promise — although he opted for 10% instead of previous threats of a 25% hike. (The U.S. also has duties on another $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.)
“President Trump is, in effect, using American families as a hostage in his trade war negotiations,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. “Tariffs are taxes, and this move will noticeably raise the cost of shoes at retail and will have a chilling effect on hiring in the footwear industry.”
American Apparel and Footwear Association president and CEO Rick Helfenbein added, “The fact that this tweet comes after only one meeting with the Chinese delegation following the resumption of talks is extremely concerning. It is time for Congress to step up and take back its authority to manage international trade as outlined under the U.S. Constitution.”
Another meeting between the U.S. and China is set for September in Washington, D.C.
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