China Tariff Update

The Trump administration is considering eliminating tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports to spur progress toward a trade deal; less than two weeks before a high-level delegation from Beijing is scheduled to arrive in Washington for talks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in recent weeks has proposed a tariff reduction as an incentive for China to sweeten its offer to the United States, according to people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Administration hard-liners, including U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, are opposed to eliminating the tariffs before China has taken irreversible steps to meet U.S. demands.

Last year, the Administration imposed tariffs on Chinese industrial and consumer goods as leverage in talks aimed at shrinking the U.S. trade deficit and forcing China to abandon discriminatory trading practises. If negotiations do not succeed by March 1, tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent. Officials now are debating whether to instead eliminate the levies on some or all of the affected Chinese goods.