Trade

China Wants More Concessions From Trump

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's "greatest and biggest deal ever" as it currently exists does not include any rollbacks of Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods, but Chinese officials are reportedly asking for that.

Sources familiar with the talks who spoke to Reuters say Chinese officials are asking Trump to roll back the tariffs he imposed in September and even the tariffs he imposed last year.

Another source briefed on the talks said Chinese negotiators want Washington to drop 15% tariffs on about $125 billion worth of Chinese goods that went into effect on Sept. 1. They are also seeking relief from earlier 25% tariffs on about $250 billion of imports from machinery and semiconductors to furniture.

A person familiar with China’s negotiating position said it is continuing to press Washington to “remove all tariffs as soon as possible.”

It's not clear if the fate of the whole deal is tied to this, but the Chinese are effectively asking Trump to give away the whole store.

Trump has already caved by agreeing not to impose tariffs on additional $125 billion in Chinese goods in December while China has not agreed to make any new structural reforms the White House has asked for.

My interpretation of these developments is that China is testing Trump to see how far he will back down to secure more agricultural purchases for a key base of political support, but they won't walk away from "phase one" if it doesn't pan out.

I honestly have no idea what Trump will do next. He could give away the whole game and declare "victory." He could take this as an affront and escalate again.

  • muselet

    I think Donald Trump is more likely to declare victory and walk away, but that very much depends on what his trusted advisers—Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, the cast of “Fox & Friends,” Vladimir Putin—have to say about the Chinese negotiating position.

    –alopecia