Trade war, day 96: Trump says ‘sure, absolutely’ to more tariffs, as any talks through end of 2018 are thrown into doubt


The U.S.-China trade war barrels on towards day 100, with no end in sight. Two big updates today:

First, Donald Trump reiterated his threat to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports.

  • He told reporters in the Oval Office that “China wants to make a deal, and I say they’re not ready yet…we’ve canceled a couple of meetings because I say they’re not ready to make a deal,” Reuters reports.
  • “When asked whether he was ready to levy new taxes in case of retaliation from China, Trump said, ‘sure, absolutely,’” Reuters notes.
  • Trump then “added that the current U.S. trade imbalance with China means ‘they’ve already retaliated.’”

Second, the two sides are at an impasse when it comes to scheduling additional negotiations.

    • Last week, the Wall Street Journal suggested (paywall) that it was possible the two sides would talk at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires at the end of November.
    • But “US officials have warned China that Donald Trump will not engage in trade talks with Xi Jinping at next month’s G20 summit if Beijing does not produce a detailed list of concessions,” the Financial Times reports (paywall).
    • “The Chinese, however, say they have such a list but would not present it without some guarantee of it being received in a stable political climate in Washington, including a point person with a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Trump administration.”
    • A “stable political climate in Washington” is the opposite of what the rest of 2018 is heading towards, and “a point person” for U.S.-China trade is one thing that the Trump administration has refused to identify, despite many months of Chinese complaints.

Other trade war news and analysis:

Previously in SupChina’s trade war coverage:

Day one of decoupling? The uneasy future of U.S.-China relations