Trump delays tariff hike initially scheduled for March
- Tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China will remain at the current level of 10% for the time being, after President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday evening he would delay the scheduled increase to 25%. He did not specify the future date until which the tariff hike might be delayed.
- The President in a two-part tweet pointed to "substantial progress" in trade talks between the U.S. and China, and called the negotiations "very productive."
- "Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement," Trump tweeted. He did not say when the summit would be held.
Trump has alluded over the past several weeks to the possibility he would extend the trade deadline, originally scheduled for this upcoming Friday, March 1.
The initial deadline was set after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires last year. Several rounds of trade talks have taken place in the U.S. and China since then. U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer led the most recent round of high-level discussions this past Thursday in Washington.
The tweets from Trump come in contrast to Lighthizer's repeated message that March 1 is a "hard deadline" for the U.S. and China to hammer out a deal. The USTR had not released a statement on the tariff delay as of press time.
Trump, along with several members of the administration, cited progress in a series of trade negotiations between the two countries, but no one has revealed significant details of what the progress entails. The White House also has not released a statement confirming Trump's tweets or offering specifics on the progress of the trade talks.
Lighthizer will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday, which may give us some specifics on the trade discussions and what progress was made related to intellectual property, technology transfer and additional issues the U.S. and China set out to resolve.
Trump said previously no trade resolution would be finalized until he and Xi met. If the two presidents meet in the near future, as Trump hinted in his tweet, it may be a sign a trade deal is in the cards.
What that means for tariffs, however, is uncertain. Trump said he would delay the tariff increase, but did not specify to what date, leaving businesses in limbo. It's also important to note Trump said he would "delay" — but not cancel — the tariff increase.
For now, companies should still expect to see tariffs rise to 25%. The question is, when?
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