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Trump Threatens Half a Trillion Dollars in China Tariffs

Three days ahead of the arrival of a Chinese trade delegation, President Trump said he would impose 25% tariffs on $525 billion of Chinese products as leverage for a resolution of the Sino-U.S. trade war that led to retaliatory duties on U.S. exports including soybeans. “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” said Trump on social media.

China has offered to buy more U.S. goods, including farm exports, as a way to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. Ministerial-level trade negotiations were held last week in Beijing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the talks were productive. Vice Premier Liu He, China’s lead negotiator on trade, is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Wednesday for a new round of talks. There has been hope that an agreement was at hand.

Trump took a hard line on Sunday, saying that on Friday he would impose 25% tariffs on $325 billion of Chinese products currently free of tariffs and raise to 25% from 10% the existing tariffs on $200 billion of goods made in China. The statements suggested a deadline for trade talks.

The trade war has stunted U.S. farm exports. China, formerly the No. 1 market for ag exports, will drop to fifth place this year with purchases of $9 billion, less than half of its volume before the conflict.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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