For retailers paralyzed by uncertainty surrounding the timing of tariffs on apparel and footwear, President Trump gave them a small bit of guidance today.
He said that a final decision would be made after the G20 meeting in Japan scheduled for the end of June. That is the first time he is expected to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping since trade negotiations between the two sides imploded last month.
“I will make that decision after the G20,” he told reporters in Caen, France, on Thursday. “I’ll be meeting with President Xi and we’ll see what happens but probably planning it sometime after G20.”
After accusing China of reneging on a number of commitments, the White House last month increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports including handbags to 25 from 10 percent and pledged to start the paperwork to target all other imports that have yet to be targeted in previous rounds. This tranche would add up to $325 billion and drag apparel and footwear into the fray for the first time.
China is not the only country in Trump’s tariff firing line. On Monday, the administration is due to place 5 percent tariffs on all Mexican imports in an attempt to curb illegal immigration at the southern border. This will rise gradually until it reaches 25 percent in October.
The two sides began talks yesterday as Mexico tries to broker a deal before Monday.
“I think a lot of progress was made yesterday, but we need to make a lot of progress,” Trump said of Wednesday’s meeting.