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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Trump may announce China tariffs by as early as Monday

The tariffs could total $200 billion

Realations between Mr Trump gestures and Mr Xi have soured since this meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in 2017. AP 
Realations between Mr Trump gestures and Mr Xi have soured since this meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in 2017. AP 

US President Donald Trump plans to announce new tariffs of about $200 billion (Dh740bn) on Chinese imports as early as Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The tariff level will likely be about 10 per cent, below the 25 per cent announced when the administration first said it was considering this round of tariffs, the newspaper said on Saturday, quoting people familiar with the matter.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Friday, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Mr Trump “has been clear that he and his administration will continue to take action to address China’s unfair trade practices. We encourage China to address the long-standing concerns raised by the Unites States.”

Mr Trump had directed aides to proceed with tariffs, despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s attempts to restart trade talks with China, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. But the timing for activating the additional tariffs was unclear at that time.

The Trump administration is demanding that China cut its $375 billion trade surplus with the United States, end policies aimed at acquiring American technologies and intellectual property while rolling back high-tech industrial subsidies.

The $200 billion tariff list included various internet technology products and other electronics, printed circuit boards, and consumer goods ranging from handbags to bicycles and furniture.

Earlier this week, Treasury invited senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He, for more talks to try to resolve trade differences between the world’s two largest economies.

China’s foreign ministry said it welcomed the invitation. But President Trump later raised questions about it, saying on Twitter that he was under no pressure to make a deal with Beijing and predicting that the United States “will soon be taking in billions in tariffs & making products at home. If we meet, we meet?”

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The Trump administration has levied duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods following a study on China’s intellectual property practices released earlier this year.

Adding in the $200 billion list and another $267 billion of Chinese goods, total imports from China facing tariffs would exceed the $505 billion in goods that the United States imported last year.

This year through July, imports from China were up nearly 9 per cent over the same period of 2017, according to US Census Bureau data.