US President Donald Trump has followed through with his tweets from earlier this week, more than doubling tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, as talks between China’s top negotiator and US officials in Washington failed to produce a breakthrough, reported the Financial Times.
Trump’s decision to push ahead with a threat to increase tariffs from 10% to 25% sets the stage for a tense final day of negotiations between Liu He, China’s vice-premier, and Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative.
US officials said China suddenly informed Washington last week that it was no longer prepared to make specific legally binding commitments to protect US intellectual property. They said that Beijing reeled back promises in other areas too, which Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary, labelled a big change in “direction.”
In a statement issued just after midday on Friday Beijing time, China’s commerce ministry said it “deeply regretted” the move and repeated its earlier vow to “take necessary countermeasures,” should tariffs be raised.
The US trade deficit with China decreased 16.2% to $20.7 billion in April, the lowest level since March 2014, as exports, including soybeans, surged 23.6%, reported Reuters.
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