Trump Sets a New Date for Automatic Tariff Hikes

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods were originally suppose to increase from 10 to 25 percent on January 1st, but the increase was delayed after the G20 meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The increase was delayed for 90 days and, to cement that window of time, the Trump regime has chosen a new and very specific deadline.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Friday officially changed the scheduled date of a tariff rate increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 12:01 a.m. EST (0501 GMT) on March 2, 2019 as the United States and China pursue talks on trade and intellectual property.

The change was made in a Federal Register filing from a previously scheduled effective date of Jan. 1, 2019 for the increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

The notice does not affect the 25 percent tariff rate already in place on $50 billion worth of Chinese technology items, including semiconductors, printed circuit boards and other electronic components, machinery and vehicles.

Specifying a deadline down to the last minute seems like something Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer personally thought up. I don't call him 'unhinged' for no reason.

With that said, this may or may not be a real deadline.

After announcing his initial delay, Trump justified it by claiming the Chinese would immediately resume large purchases of American agriculture, but that hasn't happened yet. And if Trump was willing to do that once, he could do it again.

The routine Trump strategy is to make big demands, abandon those demands at the last minute, sign a deal that includes no substantial changes, and then claim his big demands were met.

  • muselet

    Donald Trump routinely backs down, declares victory and shambles off.

    I’m not sure Robert Lighthizer will do the same, though.

    That is the thought that should keep economists up at night for the next three months or so.