U.S. President Donald Trump intensified his trade war with China on Friday by raising tariffs to 25% on Chinese imports valued at $200 billion, and threatened to extend them to the rest of the products that the United States buys from the Asian giant.
At 00:01 on Friday on the east coast of the U.S. (4:01 GMT) came into effect the increase in tariffs on more than 5,000 Chinese products that Trump had announced five days earlier, and that China failed to prevent during a negotiation against the clock on Thursday in Washington. Until now, these Chinese products were subject to a lesser tax, 10%, and the change implies that now almost half of Chinese imports are subject to tariffs of 25%, which already affected since last year another 50 billion dollars in goods of the Asian giant.
China “deeply” regretted the decision of the United States and announced that it will have to adopt “the necessary countermeasures”, although it also showed its willingness to continue negotiating with Washington, in a statement from its Ministry of Commerce. U.S. foreign trade chief Robert Lighthizer is scheduled to meet again on Friday with China’s chief negotiator, Deputy Prime Minister Liu He, who on Thursday failed to change U.S. plans during a working dinner.
Trump’s abrupt decision to increase taxes on China – a plan he had on the table since last year but decided to freeze in December to start a negotiation with Beijing – caused losses this week in stock markets around the world. In late April, many observers predicted an early meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to close a trade deal after five months of negotiations. But those talks were complicated last weekend when Beijing said it had no intention of detailing the laws it planned to change to implement the trade agreement, which the White House found unacceptable, according to U.S. sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
That bump motivated Trump’s tweets on Sunday, in which he announced that the tariff burden would increase this Friday. “We were coming very close to an agreement and then they started renegotiating the agreement. We’re not going to accept that,” Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House. The U.S. president clarified that he still saw “possible” to reach an agreement with China, and revealed that he had received “a very beautiful letter from President Xi in which he stated: “Let’s work together, let’s do something”.
Trump did it already.