As the world—and the apparel industry in particular—braces for what could be 25 percent tariffs on certain apparel-related products come January, the man behind the tariffs says he may not have to go that route at all.
The U.S. has already imposed $250 billion worth of tariffs on China-made goods in hopes the moves would encourage China to right its trade wrongs—namely those tied to improved market access for U.S. companies and better protections for intellectual property. But China has instead responded with $110 billion worth of tariffs on goods it takes in from the U.S.
With the threat of taking the tariffs to the full $500 billion worth of goods the U.S. brings in from China, U.S. businesses have been waiting with bated breath to see how the trade war would shake out.
According to President Trump’s latest comments, however, the blow may not be all that bad.
In remarks following the signing of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act Friday, the president said, with regard to imposing more tariffs on China: “We may not have to do that. China would like to make a deal.”
The comments came in response to a list Beijing sent to the United States outlining 142 measures it is willing to take to resolve trade tensions between the two nations. While the list has at least given Trump pause, it’s not quite to his liking.
“They sent a list of things that they’re willing to do, which was a large list. And it’s just not acceptable to me yet. But at some point, I think that we are doing extremely well with respect to China,” the president said.
The aim is still for “reciprocal” trade, Trump went on, noting that there are “four or five big things” China left off its list of concessions, though the president said he thinks “we’ll probably get them too” and be able to make the deal with China.
“And if we don’t, we’re doing very well just the way it is right now. We have tariffs coming in on $250 billion worth of goods. And these are —we’re talking about billions and billions of dollars a month will flow into our country, and has already started flowing into our country that comes from China. So China has never been put in this position,” Trump said. “And I don’t want to put them in a bad position; I want to put them in a great position.”