The U.S. will keep billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese goods in place until after the 2020 election as leverage to keep Beijing from violating a phase-one trade deal, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
The $360 billion in scheduled tariffs is slated to be kept in place and only reviewed for potential trimming after the election — a detail that is reportedly not specified in the text of the agreement.
The U.S. currently has heavy tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, while China has tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products.
“The only non-public component of the agreement is a confidential annex with detailed purchase amounts, which has been previously described,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Bloomberg in an email. “There are no other oral or written agreements between the U.S. and China on these matters, and there is no agreement for future reduction in tariffs.”
A deal is expected to be signed in Washington on Wednesday, with the U.S. dropping its designation of China as a currency manipulator ahead of the deal. The two countries have been locked in months of back-and-forth negotiations after a deal was principally agreed to in October.
The initial deal included China purchasing $40 to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products, along with agreeing to guidelines on how it manages its currency. It also included a provision that addresses China’s history of intellectual property theft, specifically as it pertains to the forced transfer of American technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. But impending U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods caused Beijing to stall signing the deal.
U.S. agriculture and manufacturing have been hit particularly hard by the longstanding trade war, with farmers receiving $30 billion in compensation to offset losses, and manufacturing hitting its lowest level in more than a decade.