White House backpedals on Trump's claim that China will drop auto tariffs

05 December, 2018, 04:33 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • I am a tariff man’ Trump warns China against raiding ‘great wealth’ of US as trade talks start

The appointment of Lighthizer, the hardline USA trade representative, to lead the talks instead of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin puts one of the administration's toughest China critics in charge.

Central to the deal was an agreement between President Trump and China's President Xi Jinping to not increase tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks.

"President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will".

After months of a back-and-forth trade war between the US and China, President Trump declared on Monday that Beijing had agreed to remove a 40 percent auto tariff on American vehicles. "But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man".

It also said China had agreed to start buying farm products from U.S. farmers immediately. They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately. This fundamental misunderstanding of economics, combined with his reckless announcement of the detente that wasn't, scared investors and continues to undermine his administration's efforts at reaching a real trade deal with China. "Farmers, I LOVE YOU!"

US President Donald Trump has held out the possibility of an extension of the 90-day trade truce with China but made clear he would revert to tariffs if the two sides could not resolve their differences. As part of his Twitter storm today, the USA president called himself "Tariff Man" and then proceeded to demonstrate his lack of basic understanding about how tariffs work, seemingly ignorant of the fact that tariffs are in effect a tax paid by domestic consumers, not foreign countries.

China has a 15 percent import tax on all autos. "A solution for North Korea is a great thing for China and ALL!"

No one's quite sure how Trump plans to get his way (and, in turn, pass on the cost of these tariffs to the USA people), but what's also grabbing attention is how Trump phrased one of his tweets.

But he tweeted that "at some time in the future", Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and he "will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race".

Negotiators will actually have fewer than 90 days to reach a deal because of holidays in the two countries over the next three months, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, told reporters on Monday.

While Trump hailed the agreement with Xi "an incredible deal", a lack of detail from the Chinese side has left investors and analysts wondering if Trump's exuberance is warranted.

FILE - Mike Starkey offloads soybeans from his combine as he harvests his crops in Brownsburg, Indiana, Sept. 21, 2018. The Trump administration has thus far applied tariffs to $253 billion worth of Chinese goods, and has threatened to apply 25 percent tariffs to another $267 billion worth of Chinese merchandise if this round of talks are unsuccessful.

"I'll call them "commitments" at this point, which are - commitments are not necessarily a trade deal, but it's stuff that they're going to look at and presumably implement", Kudlow told reporters at an official White House briefing that followed TV interviews and informal briefings by him and Mnuchin earlier in the day.

While Washington touted the immediate increase in Chinese purchases of United States agricultural products, Beijing's statement was much more open, with no reference to immediate or agricultural products.

The negotiations for a final agreement have already begun, Kudlow said.


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