Trump’s Tariffs On China Could Be Terrible, Or They Could Be Nothing

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Once again, Trump has made a big show of signing tariffs during a photo op at the White House, but that's not actually what he signed this morning.

I spent most of the afternoon frustrated because I couldn't find a single report detailing exactly what Trump signed to sanction China, but there's a good reason for that.

I couldn't find more details because there are no details.

The White House said Thursday that Trump would direct the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to publish a list of proposed tariffs for public comment within 15 days. USTR has already identified potential targets: 1,300 product lines worth about $48 billion. The president is also asking Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to come up with a list of restrictions on Chinese investment.

We may not know what imports Trump intends to impose taxes on until next month. Beyond that, we don't know how long the list will be open for public comment. We don't know how many products will remain on the list after the public comments and after lobbyists go to work on it.

This process could take weeks or it could take months. It's possible none of the tariffs will ever be implemented.

Given that Trump has canceled most of his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, I'm forced to wonder if any of this will actually happen.

  • I don’t get it. Are you saying he signed a piece of paper with nothing on it?

    • JMAshby

      He signed a paper that directs his subordinates to make recommendations.

      It’s like when movie studios release a 5 second clip from their 30 second teaser trailer.

  • gescove

    How long before the investment class tells the Moron in Chief to keep his pie hole shut? His “Big Show” today caused a nearly 3% drop in the Dow, down by over 724 points. Imagine if it was Barack or Hillary in the WH.

    • I try not to pay attention to market ups and downs because it affects my pitiful IRAs but I definitely noticed today. Stupid orange asshat.

  • muselet

    “Big show” is the operative phrase.

    Donald Trump thinks of government as the biggest, highest-rated reality TV program around, and as with all programs, ya gotta keep ’em comin’ back for more. He thinks he’s found the formula for ratings success.

    If he doesn’t make some huge (and probably stupid and counterproductive) announcement during May Sweeps, I’ll be very surprised.


    • And still how many of his supporters will INSIST that he signed tariffs against China? The Stoopid is literally killing this country and Trump is their figurehead.