UNITED STATES TO KEEP TARIFFS ON CHINESE PRODUCTS UNTIL PHASE 2 PACT: MNUCHIN
WASHINGTON-The United States will continue the ongoing rounds of tariffs on Chinese products until such time that both sides come up with a second phase of the US-China trade agreement, United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated on Tuesday, a day before both parties sign the pact.
Mnuchin disclosed to media that US President Donald Trump could further reduce the implemented tariffs if the world’s two largest economies come to terms regarding the second phase of the agreement.
“If the president gets a Phase 2 in place quickly, he’ll consider releasing tariffs as part of Phase 2,” Mnuchin said.
Donald Trump is set to sign the Phase 1 of the trade agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House, 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The signing will be done a week prior to US senate impeachment trial against the US president.
Donald Trump became the third president to face impeachment when US parliament forwarded charges that Trump abused his executive power by pressuring Ukrainian government to launch an investigation against rival Joe Biden all while obstructing Congress.
Trade deal concerns impacted US stocks on Tuesday with shares marginally lower following reports that US tariffs could remain imposed long until the conclusion of the November presidential poll.
Recent records disclosed that the impact of US president’s trade dispute were more pressing and alarming to American manufacturing competitiveness and jobs compared to what was initially assessed.
Mnuchin and US trade representative Robert Lightizer said that no discussions were made with China in line with Tariff cut off.
Mnuchin and Lightizer both said that important details are to be disclosed to public on Wednesday except for highly confidential section that will discuss matters regarding US products and services to be availed by Chinese government.
“There are no other oral or written agreements between the United States and China on these matters, and there is no agreement for future reduction in tariffs. Any rumors to the contrary are categorically false,” they said.
Following the Phase 1 deal last December, Washington decided to put on hold on going rounds of tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese-produced cellular phones, laptop computers, and other products. Such took effect last December 15 as the government also agreed on reducing existing tariffs into half. This had cut $120 billion worth of products into 7.5% while still imposing 25% tariffs on $250 billion of of other Chinese products.
US-based firms have released $46 billion in tariffs ever since Trump started new frameworks with all of Washington’s major trading associates, US records showed.
Trump denied allegations and insisted that tariffs were paid by nations against which they were charged but US economists and businesses disclosed that they suffer from the scheme.
Americans for Free Trade, an association of approximately 150 business organizations standing against tariff scheme, stated that Phase 1 would not do much to ease the weight of billions of dollars in tariffs being paid by US firms.
“The vast majority of the tariffs – which are taxes paid by Americans and not China – will remain in place, continuing to damage the American economy,” said spokesman Jonathan Gold.