President Donald Trump has kept quiet on the tariffs front lately, but that all changed today.
With the make-or-break meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires just days away, Trump doubled down on his threat to impose tariffs on more goods if the two superpowers fail to come to an agreement.
“If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the $267 billion additional on,” at a rate of either 10 percent or 25 percent, he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
He was referring to another $267 billion worth of Chinese imports that he has lined up to be hit with levies on short notice if further provoked by China, after already having targeted around $250 billion of Chinese imports in three separate tranches.
While many believe this would cover every single Chinese import as the U.S. accepted $505.5 billion worth of imports from China last year, Erin Ennis, senior vice president of the U.S.-China Business Council, previously told WWD that this may not be the case as the president could double tariffs on some products.
“We don’t know if that means they’re literally going to have a list that has everything else or if, because of concerns of no alternative sources of those products and what the impact might be on U.S. consumers, they might go back to some of the previous lists and simply propose an increased tariff,” she said.
If Trump unleashes another round of levies, it’s unlikely that the fashion industry would emerge unscathed this time, having largely avoided a big hit when in September the administration placed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, many of which are consumer-facing, at a 10 percent rate. This is set to rise to 25 percent at the year’s end.
China is hoping that it can persuade the U.S. to hold off from pushing the rate up to 25 percent, but Trump told the Journal that it was “highly unlikely” that he would accept Beijing’s request.
“The only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States,” Trump said. “As far as other countries are concerned, that’s up to them.”
As for companies that rely heavily on China for production and will be hit by tariffs, Trump advised them “to build factories in the United States and to make the product here.”