Trump announces new tariffs on Chinese imports

Washington, Aug 2 (IANS) US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday a new set of tariffs on goods from China that will take effect September 1, just as Washington and Beijing are supposed to be preparing to resume trade talks.

"Our representatives have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future Trade Deal. We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to re-negotiate the deal prior to signing," he said on Twitter.

"Trade talks are continuing, and during the talks the US will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional Tariff of 10 per cent on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country. This does not include the 250 Billion Dollars already Tariffed at 25%," the President wrote.

A team led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spent Tuesday and Wednesday negotiating in Shanghai with a high-level Chinese delegation headed by Vice Premier Liu He, the Efe news reported.

"The two sides discussed topics such as forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers and agriculture," the White House said in a statement.

The latest round of trade talks did not result in an agreement, but the White House said the negotiations were positive.

"The meetings were constructive, and we expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington, D.C., in early September," the White House said.

On Thursday, however, Trump emphasised his disappointment with China and its President, Xi Jinping.

"More recently, China agreed to buy agricultural product from the US in large quantities, but did not do so. Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States - this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!," the US President tweeted.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more potent than morphine, is used in the US to treat moderate-to-severe chronic pain. But its similarity to heroin has made the drug liable to abuse.

"We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!," Trump said on Thursday.

The world's two largest economic powers have been engaged in a trade war for more than 18 months, levelling allegations at each other and slapping tariffs on imports.

In May, Trump increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent a tariff on Chinese imports worth $200 billion. China retaliated by slapping tariffs on US imports worth $60 billion.

Trump later threatened to impose tariffs of up to 25 per cent on another $325 billion of Chinese imports, causing concern in financial markets and the business community due to the possible effect on consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the US economic activity.

In Osaka, Trump and Xi agreed to a truce in the trade war, which is rooted in Washington's unhappiness over China's massive trade surpluses with the US.

In 2018, the US posted a trade deficit of $419 billion with China due, largely, to the fact that US exports to Asia's largest economy totalled just $120 billion, while American imports from China reached $540 billion.

During the first five months of 2019, the US trade deficit with China was $137 billion.

--IANS

rs

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