Tariffs out or on?

US president Donald Trump said Friday that he was prepared to roll out tariffs on yet another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods even before his earlier proposed tariffs have gone into effect, the Wall Street Journal reports.

They will “take place very soon, depending on what happens”, he said about the new tariffs, in comments made to reporters while aboard Air Force One en route to Fargo, North Dakota.

The public comment period ended Thursday on proposed tariffs that could range from 10% to 25% on some $200bn worth of Chinese goods, including multiple seafood items, such as re-processed salmon and tuna as well as red swimming crab. Earlier speculation was that those tariffs, proposed in July, would take effect in early October, though trade associations have been gearing up for the announcement to come as early as the end of this week.

Trump said Friday that the timing of the tariffs on the $200bn worth of goods is not yet final. “[It] could take place very soon depending on them—to a certain extent it depends on China.”

Then he added: “I hate to say this, but behind that there is another $267bn ready to go on short notice if I want. That changes the equation.”

There was no indication in the comments made by Trump on Friday as to which items would be targeted in a future round of tariffs, as most seafood products imported from China already have been slapped with higher tariffs.

Thousands have submitted comments opposed to the earlier tariffs, and more than 350 – including Alaska senator Dan Sullivan  — appeared in hearings held late last month by the United States Trade Representatives, most of them to speak against the fees.

Chinese company officials told Undercurrent News at the Seafood Expo Asia, in Hong Kong, this week that US companies have canceled orders in advance of the tariffs, out of fear that they won’t arrive in time.

“In essence, the tariffs are already in effect,” Leo Xie, sales director at Guangdong Evergreen Group, told Undercurrrent.

 

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