Trump to likely begin tariff hike


WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump said he’ll likely push forward with plans to increase tariffs on US$200 billion (RM838 billion) of Chinese goods, indicating he would also slap duties on all remaining imports from the Asian nation if negotiations with China’s leader Xi Jinping fail to produce a trade deal.

Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Monday, said he’s prepared to impose tariffs on a final batch of US$267 billion of Chinese shipments if he can’t make a deal with Xi when they meet at the Group of 20 (G-20) meeting in Argentina, which starts on Nov 30. The rate could be either 10% or 25%, Trump said.

Trump said Apple Inc’s iPhones and laptops imported from China could be hit by new tariffs. Americans could “very easily” handle a 10% duty, he said.

The Trump administration has complained that US companies aren’t getting a fair deal in China.

“The only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the US,” the president said, according to the newspaper.

“As far as other countries are concerned, that’s up to them.”

In September, the Trump administration plunged deeper into a trade war with China by imposing a 10% tariff on US$200 billion of Chinese goods, and said the rate will rise to 25% on Jan 1. The US is unlikely to accede to demands from Beijing to refrain from increasing the tariff, Trump said.

“This is largely a negotiation tactic,” said Tao Dong, vice chairman for Greater China at Credit Suisse Private Banking in Hong Kong. “Putting high stakes pressure onto the other side seems to be a consistent pattern from the Trump administration.”

China’s Foreign Ministry urged the US to work toward a positive outcome at the planned G-20 meeting.