When it comes to hiking already in place tariffs or rolling out even more on the remaining goods the U.S. brings in from China, for the last 90-days it’s been a question of, ‘will he or won’t he?’ as the world waited to see what the U.S. president would do.
For now, it seems, Trump has decided there’ll be no changes to tariffs on what has been the impending March 1 deadline.
Announcing his official stance in a series of Twitter posts late Sunday night, the president said: “I am pleased to report that the U.S. has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues. As a result of these very…productive talks, I will be delaying the U.S. increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1.”
Continuing, Trump said, “Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement.”
During remarks at the 2019 White House Business Session with U.S. governors Monday, the president said he expects the forthcoming Mar-a-Lago Summit to be a signing summit as the two sides are getting “very, very close” to a deal.
As part of wrapping up talks on their future trading relationship—for which there’s been little talk about what will happen with already-in-place tariffs—Trump said part of the deal will include China criminalizing the sale of fentanyl, a powerful opioid drug, to the United States. The president has said the drug “seems to be made 100 percent in China,” thus posing what has become “a tremendous problem.” Since his inauguration, Trump has been taking strides to combat what the Administration has dubbed the country’s ‘opioid crisis.’
On tariffs and what’s to become of them, however, there was little said that hasn’t been said before.
“Now, China is paying us, right now, billions and billions of dollars of tariffs a month. Every month, billions of dollars. I love it. Personally, I love it. But they’re paying billions of dollars. And it’s hurting them; it’s not good for them,” Trump said at the White House Business Session, making no note of how the tariffs have infringed on U.S. business already.
The next round of trade talks between the U.S. and China look, as Trump noted, “like they’ll be coming back quickly again,” though the president didn’t provide any more definite information about a date.