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.