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US Trade Rep Accuses China of Backtracking on Trade Talks, Says Tariffs Will Rise Friday

From left: Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and China’s Vice Premier Liu He pose for a group photo at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, March 29, 2019. (Nicolas Asfouri/Pool via Reuters)

Trump administration officials confirmed Monday that the U.S. will raise tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday following a breakdown of trade negotiations last week.

“Over the course of the last week or so, we’ve seen an erosion in commitments by China, I would say retreating from commitments that have already been made, in our judgment,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters in Washington, D.C. on Monday.

The Trump administration will raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, effective on Friday. The U.S. also currently has a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese high-tech products.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin added that negotiations went “substantially backward” over the weekend after he and Lighthizer visited Beijing last week. However, the officials plan to continue trade talks with a Chinese delegation scheduled to travel to Washington D.C. on Thursday and Friday.

Stocks dipped Sunday after President Trump warned about increased tariffs, but were largely recovered by Monday morning.

“For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%,” Trump said in a pair of tweets Sunday. “The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”

The president continued the pressure campaign on China Monday morning, writing in a tweet that, “With China we lose 500 Billion Dollars. Sorry, we’re not going to be doing that anymore!”

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