Robert Scott, economist, says fears over Donald Trump tariffs overblown

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Trump on Twitter: If the US sells a vehicle into China, there is a tax of 25%.

Washington has offered to restart negotiations with Beijing as the trade war escalates, a move analysts say reflects pressure on the White House ahead of critical midterm elections and a weaker Chinese negotiating position as its economy slows.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Wednesday invited Chinese officials to a new round of talks later this month over US threatened tariffs on Chinese exports worth $200 billion, and a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters Thursday that Beijing welcomed the invitation.

China is clearly under economic duress as its economy slows and the next round of 25 percent tariffs targeting US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods are made ready for launch in Washington.

But Larry Kudlow, head of the White House Economic Council, said Wednesday on the Fox Business Network that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited senior Chinese officials to rekindle the talks.

Two people familiar with the effort said Mnuchin's invitation was sent to his Chinese counterparts, including Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, for talks in coming weeks.

The U.S. has implemented tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports - to which Beijing retaliated.

More than 60 per cent of USA companies polled said the United States tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said Chinese duties on U.S. goods were having an impact on business. "That's what we've been asking for months and months".

In the case of the Trump administration's trade tensions with China, the USA clearly has an edge when it comes to imposing tariffs.

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"The administration is faced with the fact that if they go ahead with the US$200 billion, they will hurt the United States economy quite badly, and things are not going so well with the midterms", he said.

But he cautioned: "I guarantee nothing". "Likewise, Trump's ill-advised trade war, which started in January when he approved the tariffs on imported washing machines, is really largely a war on Americans".

"This survey affirms our concerns: tariffs are already negatively impacting US companies and the imposition of a proposed $200 billion tranche will bring a lot more pain", said AmCham Shanghai chairman Eric Zheng.

AmCham's survey results come a day after more than 60 US industry groups launched a coalition called Americans For Free Trade, which aims to halt the White House's proposed tariffs.

In recent meetings with cabinet-level Chinese officials, USCBC representatives were told that licensing won't resume "until the trajectory of the U.S".

A U.S. Treasury spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

The invitation, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes amid a swelling chorus of opposition to tariffs from Western business circles.

The longer the trade war continues the less attractive China will become as a manufacturing base for global companies, making other emerging markets like Indonesia and India preferable locations for manufacturing.

More than 60 percent of US companies polled said the USA tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said Chinese duties on US goods were having an impact on business.

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