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Trump Delays Tariffs on Some Chinese Merchandise

file photo
file photo of the Port of Charlestown, U.S.

By The Maritime Executive 2019-08-13 21:41:22

U.S. President Donald Trump has delayed his September 1 deadline for 10 percent tariffs on some Chinese imports until December 15.

The delay affects about half of the $300 billion target list of Chinese goods, and Trump told reporters: “Just in case they might have an impact on people, what we’ve done is we’ve delayed it so that they won’t be relevant to the Christmas shopping season.”

Reuters reports that the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office announced the decision minutes after China’s Ministry of Commerce conducted a phone call with U.S. trade officials.

Bank of America, one of the United States’ biggest banks, predicted this week that there is a one-in-three chance of the country will suffer a recession within the next 12 months. “Our official model has the probability of a recession over the next 12 months only pegged at about 20 percent, but our subjective call based on the slew of data and events leads us to believe it is closer to a one-in-three chance,” said Michelle Meyer, Bank of America’s head of US economics.

The National Retail Federation's Senior Vice President for Government Relations, David French, said: “While we are still reviewing the details, we are pleased the administration is delaying some tariffs ahead of the holiday season and acknowledging the impact on American consumers. Still, uncertainty for U.S. businesses continues, and tariffs taking effect September 1 will result in higher costs for American families and slow the U.S. economy. During this delay period, we urge the administration to develop an effective strategy to address China’s unfair trade practices by working with our allies instead of using unilateral tariffs that cost American jobs and hurt consumers.”

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign supported by over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations representing retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture, released the following statement:

“While we appreciate the delay of some of the tariffs, this clearly shows that the administration recognizes that tariffs are taxes paid by Americans. It appears the administration understands that taxes on everyday products such as toys, clothes and electronics would be politically unpopular and hurt those who can least afford it.

“Unfortunately, today’s announcement doesn’t address the vast majority of tariffs that are driving uncertainty, putting farmers out of business and causing small businesses to slow hiring. Instead of picking temporary winners and losers and holding the U.S. economy hostage, it is time to reach an agreement that finally puts an end to the trade war.”

Stock markets in the Asia Pacific responded positively to the delay, but nations in the region remain concerned about the protracted nature of the trade war. For example, South Korea has seen exports drop and in response has implemented a free trade deal with five Central American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. South Korea's exports to the five countries reached $2.5 billion in 2018, up 14.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea International Trade Association.  

Security concerns are also rising. Speaking at an Indo-Pacific Defence Conference on Monday, Australia's Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said nations in the region are increasingly concerned about tensions between the U.S. and China. “The U.S.-China bilateral relationship is the most globally significant, and it is in no country's interest to see competition become adversarial.”