China Tariff Increase Could be Pushed Back, Trump Says

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

President Trump said Feb. 12 that he might postpone a planned tariff increase on $200 billion worth of imports from China if the two sides are “close to a deal.”

The so-called List 3 goods were hit with an additional 10 percent tariff as of Sept. 24, 2018, as part of the Trump administration’s response to a Section 301 determination that China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory. (Click here for a list of affected goods and details on all actions taken in this Section 301 case.)

This tariff was scheduled to increase to 25 percent on Jan. 1, but the U.S. agreed to postpone it to March 2 while the two sides work toward an agreement on issues such as forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services, and agriculture. Several rounds of negotiations have been held to date, and senior officials are meeting in Beijing this week in an effort to make further progress.

According to press sources, Trump told reporters Feb. 12 that talks “are going well” and that “at some point” (though likely not until next month) he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping “and make the parts of the deal that the group is unable to make.” Trump added that if the talks progress to the point that “we think we can make a real deal, and it’s going to get done,” the planned tariff increase could “slide for a little while.” However, he added that in general he is “not inclined to do that.”

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