Administration Delays Tariff Hike on Chinese Goods

The Trump administration has delayed until March 1 a tariff hike of 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Originally, the tariff increase was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.

The decision stems from an agreement reached between President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Dec. 1, where they agreed to postpone a further escalation in the tariff war for 90 days while they work out a trade deal.

In recent weeks, Beijing has pledged to remove retaliatory tariffs on U.S. automobiles, buy a significant amount of U.S. soybeans, go after intellectual property violators and scale back its strategy to dominate high-tech sectors in the next decade. Still, Trump administration officials caution that China’s promises to date are not enough to break the impasse.

“They’ve started to make some very early stage, very preliminary, but very welcome moves,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg Television, while adding that more action was needed to address U.S. concerns.

Clete Willems, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, said he’s hoping China can address structural issues quickly. “Obviously China is not going to have a market economy on March 1. I don’t think anyone expects that every single problem we have with China is going to be dealt with by that time and that probably would be a difficult expectation to meet,” Willems said at an event hosted by the Washington International Trade Association.

“But there are certainly some things that they can do we believe to deal with some of the structural issues we’ve identified in a relatively short period of time,” he said.