The market ticked upward a few points several days ago when it was reported that Chinese and American trade officials might resume talks, but if you've been paying attention you may have guessed that wouldn't last very long.
The Trump regime has been drafting plans to impose a 10 percent tariff on hundreds of billions of Chinese goods but, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, Trump is now calling for a 25 percent tariff.
President Donald Trump’s officials are considering more than doubling planned tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, people familiar with the deliberations said. The U.S. had threatened an additional $200 billion with levies of 10 percent, a level the administration may raise to 25 percent in a Federal Register notice in coming days, one of the people said. [...]
Trump directed trade representative Robert Lighthizer to raise the tariff rate to 25 percent, the people said, adding that the change isn’t final yet and may not go forward after a public review.
A spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the news yesterday evening by saying any potential talks with the Trump regime should be based on "equality and respect as well as established rules and credibility."
If that's the standard, I don't think there will be any talks.
We talk about how Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer is a nutcase, but in this case it's Trump ordering him to go further. No one in the Trump regime including Trump himself speaks with any level of credibility and they don't care much for the rules. If they cared about rules, we wouldn't even be talking about this.
It remains to be seen if Trump will impose a 10 percent tariff or a 25 percent tariff, but it seems certain that he'll go through with tariffs on at least $200 billion in goods and possibly even $500 billion.
Even a 10 percent tariff will hurt, but a 25 percent tariff could be catastrophic for small businesses that rely on imports. A 25 percent tariff would be far too large to absorb and asking customers to pay 25 percent more is probably not going to work either. It's not as if American wages are keeping pace.