US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he is expected to go ahead with slapping China with higher tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from the current 10 percent to 25 percent. He also repeated his warning to impose tariffs on all of the remaining imports from China, the world’s second largest economy.
During an interview four days prior to the high profile meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina, Trump commented that it was “highly unlikely” that he would accept China’s request to hold off on the hike, which is due to be implemented on January 1.
“The only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States,” Trump said in the interview. “As far as other countries are concerned, that’s up to them.”
Trump, who is scheduled to meet his Chinese on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires this week, said that if negotiations were unsuccessful, he would also put tariffs on the rest of Chinese imports. His comments drove the greenback steadier on Tuesday.
“If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the $267 billion additional on,” at a tariff rate of either 10 percent or 25 percent, Trump said.
A Chinese official told reporters last week that the two leaders would look to set guidelines for future talks.
“The main issue is how to settle down the trade war,” the official said but requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the preparatory negotiations. “I am conservatively optimistic that can be done.”
Trump said that the next round of tariffs could also be placed on laptops and Apple Inc’s iPhones imported from China, which are part of the $267 billion list of goods not yet blown by tariffs.
Cell phones and computers, which are among the largest exports to the United States, have by far been saved from the tariffs as the US government tried to minimize the impact on US consumers. The report said that the administration has been worried about a consumer reaction to such levies.
“Maybe. Maybe. Depends on what the rate is,” the US president said, pertaining to the chances of slapping tariffs on mobile phone and laptops, according to the report. “I mean, I can make it 10 percent, and people could stand that very easily.”
Shares of Apple fell in after-hours trading after the interview was published. An Apple spokesman did not immediately to request for comments.
Apple Inc’s chief executive officer Tim Cook has personally pressed the issue of tariffs with the president, telling president Trump that while there are valid concerns about US-China trade relations, tariffs are not the best way to resolve them.
In spite of using contract manufacturers to make the most of its products overseas, Apple has also sought to highlight its contribution to the US economy, claiming that it plans to spend about $55 billion in 2018 with the US-based suppliers.