Trump dubs himself 'Tariff Man,' threatens tougher stance with Chinese

Dwayne Harmon
December 5, 2018

President Donald Trump tweeted late Sunday that China would "reduce and remove" its 40 percent tariff on US cars.

The president's Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, told reporters Monday that there will be "specific changes right away" to help the agricultural industry, even as the majority of the tentative agreement remains to be worked out over a 90-day-period agreed upon between the USA and China.

"Stuff is happening today", Kudlow said.

Officials in Beijing did not respond to requests for an explanation and neither did the Chinese embassy in Washington. "Chad Bown, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, estimates that 12 percent of US imports were covered by tariffs in September". His administration has imposed multiple tariffs on the country this year; the latest was a 10-percent tariff on $200 billion worth of imported goods.

Trump said China had committed to buying large amounts of USA agricultural products and completely removing all tariffs on U.S. automobiles, a huge shift from its current 40 per cent penalty, although China hasn't confirmed this.

"President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will", Trump wrote.

Trump raised the stakes on those pledges, saying in a tweet that he expects China to start buying more agricultural products "immediately". China has said little about the detail of the deal and Trump's own description of what was agreed lost some certainty between Saturday and Tuesday. "But if not remember, I am a Tariff man".

"Every time we covered this kind of bilateral meeting we had no detailed information from the Chinese side", she said, adding that Chinese media were only allowed to publish the reports of state news agency Xinhua.

Trump said China had committed to buying large amounts of US agricultural products and completely removing all tariffs on US automobiles a huge shift from its current 40 per cent penalty although China hasn't confirmed this
‘I am a tariff man’: Trump warns China against raiding ‘great wealth’ of US as trade talks start

Trump's aggressive trade actions left in their wake a farm industry suffering from China's retaliation, hitting soybeans especially hard, and a business sector fraught with uncertainty, facing higher costs and holding off on investment.

As reported by Reuters, fresh concerns are on the rise surrounding the temporary US-China truce that was struck over the weekend.

Mr Trump has long accused China of unfair trade practices that hurt USA citizens and the economy.

The US trade deficit with China was United States dollars 335 billion a year ago and many manufacturers rely on inputs from the world's number two economy, so eliminating the deficit would be an extraordinary goal. Per the president's post, a delegation of U.S. officials will hold negotiations with the Chinese side.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said that China had agreed to buy US$1.2 trillion of American products, but he could not offer specifics.

There are several significant take-aways from this development, including the argument that Trump's hard line, even at times belligerent stance with Beijing, has caused them to blink first, particularly since economic growth in China has already started to feel the brunt of USA tariffs, while US economic growth, though not as robust as a few months ago, is still strong.

Beijing, for example, didn't mention the 90-day deadline for talks on a deal over technology issues.

Another significant take-away from the preliminary agreement could be its impact on energy markets, both USA oil import to China and perhaps even more importantly from a development perspective liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports. China has placed a 10 percent tariff on U.S. -LNG imports with the threat of increasing that figure in the future, resulting in China having to find alternate sources of the super-cooled fuel on the spot market. Let the negotiations begin.

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