The United States is at least a month from enacting its proposed tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports as it studies the impact on consumers, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday.
Washington this month hiked existing tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent, prompting Beijing to retaliate with its own levies on US imports, as talks to end a 10-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies stalled.
US President Donald Trump, who has embraced protectionism as part of an “America First” agenda aimed at rebalancing global trade, has threatened to slap tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional list of Chinese imports worth about $300 billion. “There won’t be any decision probably for another 30 to 45 days,” Mnuchin said in a hearing before the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
A 30-day window would represent an accelerated schedule compared to previous rounds of US tariffs and would mean that the next batch of levies would be ready when Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping, as expected, at a G20 leaders summit in Japan on June 28-29. “I’m still hopeful we can get back to the table. The two presidents will likely see each other at the end of June,” Mnuchin said, adding that the impact of tariffs on American consumers was a key consideration in the US trade strategy.
Walmart Inc, the world’s largest retailer, has said its prices will rise because of higher tariffs on Chinese goods. Mnuchin said the Trump administration is open to holding new talks with China if the two sides can proceed on the basis of previous negotiations.
No talks between top Chinese and US negotiators have been scheduled since the end of two days of discussions in Washington on May 10, the same day Trump imposed the higher levies on Chinese goods.
The seeds of the current stalemate were sowed earlier this month when Chinese officials sought major changes to the text of a proposed deal that the Trump administration says had been largely agreed. The Chinese government’s top diplomat Wang Yi said on Wednesday that China’s door would always be open to further trade talks with the United States, but added that Beijing would not accept any unequal agreements.