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Trump: No Hurry to Sign China Deal

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, center, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, speak with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, as he leaves the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, Friday, May 10, 2019.
Trump: No Hurry to Sign China Deal
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The United States ordered new tariffs on Chinese goods Friday.

The Trump administration increased taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Chinese officials have said they will take action to answer the increase.

The new tariffs took effect just hours before U.S. and Chinese officials started a second day of trade talks in Washington. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Also on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was in no hurry to sign a trade deal with China. His comments appeared on the social media website Twitter.

In a series of early morning tweets, Trump defended the tariff increase. He said he was in “no rush” to finalize a deal, adding that the U.S. economy would gain more from the tariffs than from any agreement.

“Tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our country than even a…deal of the traditional kind,” Trump said in one of the tweets.

Trump has repeatedly suggested that China will pay the cost of the increased tariffs. But the Reuters news agency reports that U.S. businesses will pay them and likely pass them on to users of their products and services.

The increasing tensions worry investors around the world. They fear the 10-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies could worsen.

Trump has supported protectionist policies as part of his “America First” program. He has accused the Chinese of using unfair trade practices.

“We will continue to negotiate with China in the hopes that they do not again try to redo deal!” said Trump. He has also accused the Chinese government of backing away from earlier promises it made during the past months of negotiating.

Following the U.S. tariff increase, China’s Commerce Ministry said it would take action, but failed to explain what that meant.

The ministry said it “hopes the United States can meet China halfway… and resolve the issue through cooperation...”

‘No Greater Threat’

Under the latest U.S. action, U.S. Customs and Border Protection set a 25 percent tax on more than 5,700 kinds of products leaving China after 04:01 UTC on Friday.

The new tax was not required on products shipped by sea from China before that time -- as long as they arrived at a U.S. port before June 1. Those products will be taxed the original 10 percent.

“This delay might create an unofficial window during which the U.S. and China can continue to negotiate,” noted investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Trump gave U.S. importers less than five days warning about his decision to increase the rate on $200 billion worth of products,

He has also threatened to enact new tariffs on another $325 billion in Chinese imports.

Investors worry that a worsening trade war could further damage a slowing worldwide economy. The higher tariffs could reduce U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 0.3 percent and China’s by 0.8 percent in 2020, said Oxford Economics.

“There is no greater threat to world growth,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.

Many business groups have opposed the tariffs. They say the tariffs will lead to financial difficulties for American businesses, which will be forced to raise prices.

Gary Shapiro is head of the Consumer Technology Association, a U.S. trade group. He said the tariffs would be paid by American consumers and businesses, not China, as Trump has claimed.

“Our industry supports more than 18 million U.S. jobs – but raising tariffs will be disastrous,” Shapiro said in a statement.

It may take three or four months for Americans to realize they are paying higher prices, but all experts agree it will happen.

Mats Harborn is president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. He warned that the U.S. and China are risking disaster.

I’m Dorothy Gundy.

And I'm Susan Shand.

The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in this Story

tariffs – n. a tax on goods coming into or leaving a country

retaliate – v. to do something bad to someone who has hurt you or treated you badly

consumer – n. a person who buys things

category – n. a group of people or things that are similar in some way

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – n. the value of all things produced in a country

sector – n. an area of an economy