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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Customs (Tariff)" (Page 5)

British Election, Advancing Brexit, Heralds End of a Global Trade Era

Westlake Legal Group 13uktrade-hung-01-facebookJumbo British Election, Advancing Brexit, Heralds End of a Global Trade Era United States Protectionism (Trade) International Trade and World Market Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union elections Customs (Tariff)

LONDON — For more than seven decades, the global powers that be operated on the assumption that greater economic integration amounts to historical progress. But that era is over, as Britain’s voters have now made clear.

The decisive majority secured by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party all but ensures that the country will proceed with its abandonment of the European Union.

Another complex phase of the tangled divorce proceedings lies ahead — negotiations over the terms of Britain’s future economic relationship with the Continent. But in one form or another, “getting Brexit done,” the mantra that Mr. Johnson promised and can now deliver, marks a profound change in the world trading system.

In the aftermath of World War II, the victorious Allies forged an international order built on the understanding that when countries swap goods they become less inclined to trade artillery volleys.

Britain’s departure from Europe is the clearest manifestation that this principle no longer holds decisive sway. Yet it is far from the only sign that the world trading system is devolving into a state in which national interests have primacy over collective concerns.

The United States and China are locked in a trade war that is heightening concerns about a global economic slowdown.

Tensions appeared to ease on Thursday, as the United States was reported to have settled on the outlines of a deal that could significantly reduce tariffs on $360 billion in Chinese goods in exchange for China’s promise to buy goods from American farmers. The deal was expected to halt American tariffs scheduled to hit another $160 billion worth of Chinese imports this weekend.

But even if such a deal takes hold, the United States and China have descended into such an adversarial state that they are likely to continue seeking alternatives to exchanging goods and investment. Companies that make goods in China will face pressure to explore other countries, posing disruption to the global supply chain.

The traditional arbiter of international trade disputes, the World Trade Organization, is listing toward irrelevance as countries bypass its channels to impose tariffs.

“The sense that policy moves in one direction, toward more liberalization and more integration, has been replaced by recognition that policy can go backward as well as forwards,” said Brad Setser, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

The fraying of international trading arrangements has been driven by intensifying public anger in many countries over widening economic inequality, and the perception that trade has been bountiful for the executive class while leaving ordinary people behind.

In Britain, struggling communities used the June 2016 referendum that unleashed Brexit as a protest vote against the bankers in London who had engineered a catastrophic financial crisis, and then forced regular people to absorb the costs through wrenching fiscal austerity.

In the United States, President Trump’s political base has rallied to his trade war, inclined to view it as a necessary corrective to the destruction of the industrial economy by Chinese factories.

From Italy to France to Germany, furious popular movements have fixed on trade as a threat to workers’ livelihoods, while embracing nationalist and nativist responses that promise to halt globalization.

“The era of freewheeling markets and liberalism is ending,” said Meredith Crowley, an international trade expert at the University of Cambridge in England. “People are dissatisfied with the complexity of policy, and this feeling that those who have the levers of policy are somehow out of their reach.”

Economists see perils in this unfolding era, like impediments to trade as governments champion national industries at the expense of competition. They point to history for portents — especially the Great Depression, which was deepened by a wave of tit-for-tat trade protectionism kicked off by the United States through the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930.

The law sharply raised tariffs on a vast range of agricultural and factory goods, prompting American trading partners to respond in kind. As world trade disintegrated, nationalist rage spread, culminating in the brutalities of World War II.

The British election, and the splintering of the European trading bloc, amounts to the most consequential upsurge of economic nationalism in generations.

“Since Smoot-Hawley, I don’t think we have seen something as dramatic as this,” said Swati Dhingra, an economist at the London School of Economics.

As the rupture in Europe plays out, the world’s two largest economies — the United States and China — remain ensnared in conflict.

The Trump administration began imposing tariffs in response to what it portrays as a decades-long Chinese effort to destroy American jobs by subsidizing key industries. But among hard-liners, the trade war is increasingly a means of weaponizing the enormous American marketplace — threatening China’s access to American consumers — to contain a supposed strategic and security threat.

China’s leaders have come to construe trade hostilities as part of an American bullying campaign engineered to suppress their national aspirations and deny the country its rightful place as a superpower.

Nationalist sentiments and security concerns combined with trade policy do not make for a conducive climate for a meaningful deal that can comprehensively end trade hostilities.

“If anything, the positions are hardening,” Ms. Crowley said.

On another front, Mr. Trump has threated to impose tariffs on imported automobiles, a step that would be especially disruptive in Germany, Europe’s largest economy. Germany sells far more goods to the United States than it imports, drawing the ire of the American president.

Mr. Trump has openly threatened to cite a national security threat as justification for auto tariffs. Trade experts have derided that approach as an affront to the norms of the international trading system.

Last month, Mr. Trump allowed a self-imposed deadline to lapse without imposing auto tariffs. But he has left a major international industry guessing about what happens next.

The World Trade Organization’s appellate body, which adjudicates disputes, has been rendered inoperative by the Trump administration’s blocking of new judges. The panel needs at least three judges to render verdicts, but now has only one.

One major variable has gained clarity: Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration this week hailed an agreement that clears passage of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the sprawling deal that has allowed some $1.2 trillion worth of goods a year to be exchanged freely across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

But the results of Britain’s election raise the likelihood that commerce in one large swath of the globe is likely to be impeded.

Britain sends nearly half of its exports to the European Union, a flow of goods potentially imperiled by Brexit. Its departure from the European single market — which allows trade to be conducted seamlessly from Greece to Ireland, as if the territory were one vast country — risks undermining Britain’s appeal as a headquarters for multinational companies.

Since Britain shocked the world with its vote to abandon the European Union, its political institutions have tangled themselves in knots trying to decide what to do with their nebulous mandate to leave. Businesses have deferred hiring and investments, awaiting clarity on future trading terms.

The uncertainty has already exacted significant costs, and far beyond Europe, according to a new paper by Tarek Hassan, an economist at Boston University, and three European accounting experts, Stephan Hollander, Laurence van Lent and Ahmed Tahoun.

Every year since the referendum, the average company in Ireland — which trades heavily with Britain — has seen its growth in investment reduced by 15 percent, and hiring is 4.2 percent less than it otherwise would have been because of uncertainty, the paper concludes. Yet even across the Atlantic, the average American company has seen investment growth limited by 0.5 percent a year and hiring slowed by 1.7 percent.

“There is already a significant drop in employment as a result of the risks of Brexit,” Mr. Hassan said.

Though Thursday’s election provided clarity on Brexit, substantial variables remain. Assuming Mr. Johnson’s Brexit plan now sails through Parliament, Britain must negotiate trade terms with Europe before the end of a transition period running through the end of next year — a monumental task.

Mr. Johnson has ruled out extending that deadline, renewing the prospect that Britain could again flirt with crashing out of the European bloc without a deal. That threat could force businesses to again stockpile goods and implement complicated contingency plans.

Some analysts suggested that the election enhanced the possibility that Mr. Johnson would pursue a softer form of Brexit that keeps Britain closer to the European market. His majority is so comfortable that he need not worry about alienating the hard-liners in his party who favor a clean break with Europe.

But some alteration is clearly ahead. If Brexit uncertainty has been damaging, what replaces it is the near-certainty of weaker economic growth and diminished living standards. Britain’s political mandate to “take back control” carries costs.

“It’s going to have massive implications,” Mr. Hassan said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Settles on Outline of Elusive China Trade Deal

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-chinatrade-promo-facebookJumbo U.S. Settles on Outline of Elusive China Trade Deal United States International Relations Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff)

WASHINGTON — The United States has settled on final terms of a partial trade deal with China, several people familiar with the negotiations said, a development that could ease tensions between the world’s largest economies just days before the long-running trade war is set to escalate.

President Trump met with his top economic advisers Thursday afternoon at the White House, where the president agreed to significant reductions on tariffs he has placed on $360 billion of Chinese goods in return for China’s commitment to purchase American farm products and make other concessions, the people said.

As part of the agreement, the president is expected to announce that he will delay or cancel tariffs on $160 billion of consumer products from China that are scheduled to go into effect on Sunday. Those additional tariffs would have resulted in the United States taxing nearly everything China ships into the United States and foregoing them would prevent another escalation in a trade fight that has inflicted economic damage on both sides of the Pacific.

Mr. Trump said on Twitter on Thursday morning that the United States was closing in on a deal.

“Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!” the president wrote.

Mr. Trump is expected to make an official policy announcement on Friday about progress toward a trade deal he initially announced in October. However, both sides have said before that they were on the verge of an agreement, only for the talks to collapse. The text of the agreement has not been finished and it is unclear whether China has agreed to all of the details included in the plan.

Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute who advises the White House on trade, said that he had spoken to the president on Thursday afternoon about the agreement.

“This is a historic breakthrough,” Mr. Pillsbury said, attributing the agreement to the strong relationship between Mr. Trump and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

Mr. Pillsbury said that Mr. Trump was agreeing to roll back some of the tariffs he had imposed on China in exchange for Beijing bolstering its annual purchases of American products to about $50 billion next year. As part of the pact, Mr. Pillsbury said, China would also enforce stronger protections for American intellectual property, open its markets to American financial institutions and commit to greater transparency surrounding the management of its currency.

An agreement would come after 19 months of back and forth between the United States and China over trade practices that the president has criticized as unfair to American companies and workers. Mr. Trump, who campaigned on a promise to change the terms of trade in America’s favor, has spent the better part of two years punishing China with tariffs on machinery, chemicals, food, apparel and other products. China has retaliated with its own penalties, including cutting off purchases of American farm goods, like soybeans and pork.

Businesses across the globe have been hoping for a resolution that would help limit the damage from a fight that has pinched American farmers and manufacturers and contributed to slowing growth in China. An agreement with China would give the president something to promote on the campaign trail, along with a North American trade deal that was completed this week.

The deal under consideration would not resolve all of Mr. Trump’s issues with China. That includes China’s history of coercing technology away from American firms, as well as industrial policies that economists say have helped China dominate global industries like steel and solar panels and put American companies out of business.

Mr. Pillsbury said those concerns would be addressed in subsequent negotiations after the 2020 election.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington directed inquiries to the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.

Stocks rose to a record on Thursday, with the S&P 500 gaining nearly 0.9 percent, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note touched 1.91 percent, the highest level in almost a month. Asian markets continued the rally on Friday morning, with stocks rising in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The American benchmark has been trading in record territory as investors anticipate a de-escalation of the trade war, and amid signs that the domestic economy is holding up.

“We’re encouraged that China and the United States seem on the verge of a breakthrough on the Phase 1 negotiations,” said Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “If accurate, it would be a positive first step in improving our commercial relationship at a time of great uncertainty.”

But the backlash from China skeptics started even before any official announcement had been made.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, tweeted that the White House “should consider the risk that a near-term deal with #China would give away the tariff leverage needed for a broader agreement on the issues that matter the most.”

On Thursday, three powerful Senate Democrats, including Chuck Schumer of New York, sent a letter to Mr. Trump, warning that any first-phase deal that did not include meaningful changes to the way China structured its economy would be “a severe and unacceptable loss for the American people.”

Some mocked the president for solving a crisis of his own making.

“China Phase-1 deal is the equivalent of a gunman, who had taken hostages, surrendering to authorities, with no one killed, but his manifesto never published,” Jorge Guajardo, the former Mexican ambassador to China, tweeted. “No harm done to anyone, back to normalcy, madman contained, but the shopping mall lost a lot a customers during standoff.”

For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has alternated between praising China and ratcheting up tariffs on the country as he tried to press Beijing for trade concessions. In October, Mr. Trump announced that the United States and China had reached an agreement in principle on the first phase of a trade deal. But in the weeks since, a concrete agreement proved elusive as the two countries grappled over its precise terms.

Chinese negotiators pushed their American counterparts to remove as many of the existing tariffs as possible, while the Trump administration pressed China to make more purchases of soybeans, poultry and other goods to help relieve the pressure the trade war had put on American farmers. Mr. Trump also wants China to buy more American products to help narrow the trade gap between what the United States sells to China and what it imports.

To ensure that China keeps its commitments, the Trump administration has insisted on periodic reviews, as well as an agreement that China’s agricultural purchases would not drop below a certain amount. If China violates the terms of the agreement, tariffs that the Trump administration had removed would snap back into place.

China has been willing to discuss purchases of American agriculture, especially since a disease has devastated its swine population and led to spiraling pork prices. But in previous discussions, Chinese negotiators had pushed back against promising set purchase amounts far into the future, saying such an arrangement could anger its trading partners and violate its commitment to the World Trade Organization to treat all members equally.

In recent months, American and Chinese officials have been locked in a contentious discussion of what proportion of American concerns about Chinese economic practices are being addressed in the Phase 1 deal, and whether a corresponding proportion of Mr. Trump’s tariffs should be rolled back. The Chinese had enumerated the American requests into a list of more than 100 items, and have argued that if they resolve half of them, then half of Mr. Trump’s existing tariffs should be removed.

Some American analysts have criticized the approach, saying a significant reduction could leave the United States with less leverage for the second- and third-phase discussions that are planned, in which even more difficult subjects like Chinese subsidies would be included. They also point to the depreciation this year in China’s currency, the renminbi, saying that drop would almost offset the effect of the tariffs.

But others say an across-the-board reduction in the rate of all existing tariffs does offer the Americans some advantages, including not having to pick and choose among industries that would receive tariff relief.

The last tranche of tariffs, scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, would extend levies to cover nearly every shoe, laptop and toy that the United States imports from China — a total of $539.5 billion of merchandise last year. Companies have been eagerly watching to see whether the administration would issue the official announcement that will stop those levies from going into effect.

Many of Mr. Trump’s advisers have been wary of increasing tariffs on China as negotiators from both sides are trying to reach agreement on the first phase of a trade deal. Still, the urge to delay the tariffs — or to reach a deal — has not been unanimous. Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s hawkish trade adviser, circulated a memo this week that makes the case for forging ahead with additional tariffs and delaying any deal until after the 2020 election.

On the Chinese side, Thursday’s agreement appears to be a big victory for the more nationalistic wing of the Chinese government, which has argued consistently that the Trump administration will back down a considerable extent on tariffs if Beijing stands firm.

Ana Swanson and Alan Rappeport reported from Washington, and Keith Bradsher from Beijing. Matt Phillips contributed reporting from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Settles on Outline of Elusive Trade Deal

Westlake Legal Group 12DC-CHINA-01-facebookJumbo U.S. Settles on Outline of Elusive Trade Deal United States International Relations Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff)

WASHINGTON — The United States has settled on final terms of a partial trade deal with China, moving both countries closer to signing a pact that President Trump originally announced in October, four people familiar with the negotiations said.

Mr. Trump met with his top economic advisers Thursday afternoon at the White House to discuss an arrangement that would reduce by half the overall rate on the tariffs he has placed on $360 billion of goods, in return for Chinese commitments to buy American agriculture and other concessions, the people said.

The president was widely expected to announce as early as Friday that he would delay or cancel new tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on Sunday on $160 billion of consumer products from China. On Thursday morning, he said on Twitter that the United States was closing in on a deal.

“Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!” the president wrote.

Mr. Trump has yet to make an official announcement about progress on the deal or the tariffs he had planned for Sunday. The administration is expected to make an official policy announcement on Friday. Both sides have said before that they were on the verge of an agreement, only for the talks to collapse.

Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute who advises the White House on trade, said that he had spoken to the president on Thursday afternoon about the agreement.

“This is a historic breakthrough,” Mr. Pillsbury said, attributing the agreement to the strong relationship between Mr. Trump and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

Mr. Pillsbury said that the agreement included a rollback of some of the tariffs that Mr. Trump has imposed on China in exchange for China bolstering its annual purchases of American products to about $50 billion next year. As part of the pact, Mr. Pillsbury said, China would also enforce stronger protections for American intellectual property, open its markets to American financial institutions and commit to greater transparency surrounding the management of its currency.

The second phase of the agreement, which Mr. Pillsbury said would include changes to China’s industrial policy, will be addressed after the 2020 election.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington directed inquiries to the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.

Stocks rose to a record on Thursday, with the S&P 500 gaining nearly 0.9 percent, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note touched 1.91 percent, the highest level in almost a month.

The benchmark has been trading in record territory as investors anticipate a de-escalation of the trade war, and amid signs that the domestic economy is holding up.

“We’re encouraged that China and the United States seem on the verge of a breakthrough on the Phase 1 negotiations,” said Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “If accurate, it would be a positive first step in improving our commercial relationship at a time of great uncertainty.”

But the backlash from China skeptics started even before any official announcement had been made.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, tweeted that the White House “should consider the risk that a near-term deal with #China would give away the tariff leverage needed for a broader agreement on the issues that matter the most.” Those issues included the subsidies China provides to its industries, its forced acquisition of American technology and the barriers it has built to American firms, Mr. Rubio said.

On Thursday, three powerful Senate Democrats, including Chuck Schumer of New York, sent a letter to Mr. Trump, warning that any first-phase deal that did not include meaningful changes to the way China structured its economy would be “a severe and unacceptable loss for the American people.”

Some mocked the president for solving a crisis of his own making.

“China Phase-1 deal is the equivalent of a gunman, who had taken hostages, surrendering to authorities, with no one killed, but his manifesto never published,” Jorge Guajardo, the former Mexican ambassador to China, tweeted. “No harm done to anyone, back to normalcy, madman contained, but the shopping mall lost a lot a customers during standoff.”

For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has alternated between praising China and ratcheting up tariffs on the country as he tried to press Beijing for trade concessions. In October, Mr. Trump announced that the United States and China had reached an agreement in principle on the first phase of a trade deal. But in the weeks since, a concrete agreement proved elusive as the two countries grappled over its precise terms.

Chinese negotiators pushed their American counterparts to remove as many of the existing tariffs as possible, while the Trump administration pressed China to make more purchases of soybeans, poultry and other goods to help relieve the pressure the trade war had put on American farmers. Mr. Trump also wants China to buy more American products to help narrow the trade gap between what the United States sells to China and what it imports.

To ensure that China keeps its commitments, the Trump administration has insisted on quarterly reviews, as well as an agreement that China’s agricultural purchases would not drop below a certain amount. If China violates the terms of the agreement, tariffs that the Trump administration had removed would snap back into place.

China has been willing to discuss purchases of American agriculture, especially since a disease has devastated its swine population and led to spiraling pork prices. But in previous discussions, Chinese negotiators had pushed back against promising set purchase amounts far into the future, saying such an arrangement could anger its trading partners and violate its commitment to the World Trade Organization to treat all members equally.

In recent months, American and Chinese officials have been locked in a contentious discussion of what proportion of American concerns about Chinese economic practices are being addressed in the Phase 1 deal, and whether a corresponding proportion of Mr. Trump’s tariffs should be rolled back. The Chinese had enumerated the American requests into a list of more than 100 items, and have argued that if they resolve half of them, then half of Mr. Trump’s existing tariffs should be removed.

Some American analysts have criticized the approach, saying a significant reduction could leave the United States with less leverage for the second- and third-phase discussions that are planned, in which even more difficult subjects like Chinese subsidies would be included. They also point to the depreciation this year in China’s currency, the renminbi, saying that drop would almost offset the effect of the tariffs.

But others say an across-the-board reduction in the rate of all existing tariffs does offer the Americans some advantages, including not having to pick and choose among industries that would receive tariff relief.

The last tranche of tariffs, scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, would extend levies to cover nearly every shoe, laptop and toy that the United States imports from China — a total of $539.5 billion of merchandise last year. Companies have been eagerly watching to see whether the administration would issue the official announcement that will stop those levies from going into effect.

Many of Mr. Trump’s advisers have been wary of increasing tariffs on China as negotiators from both sides are trying to reach agreement on the first phase of a trade deal. Still, the urge to delay the tariffs — or to reach a deal — has not been unanimous. Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s hawkish trade adviser, circulated a memo this week that makes the case for forging ahead with additional tariffs and delaying any deal until after the 2020 election.

On the Chinese side, Thursday’s agreement appears to represent a big victory for the more nationalistic wing of the Chinese government, which has argued consistently that the Trump administration will back down to a considerable extent on tariffs if Beijing stands firm.

Ana Swanson and Alan Rappeport reported from Washington, and Keith Bradsher from Beijing. Matt Phillips contributed reporting from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Settles on Outline of Elusive Phase One Trade Deal

Westlake Legal Group 12DC-CHINA-01-facebookJumbo U.S. Settles on Outline of Elusive Phase One Trade Deal United States International Relations Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff)

The United States and China have settled on final terms of a phase one trade deal, moving both countries closer to signing a pact that President Trump originally announced in October, four people familiar with the negotiations said.

Mr. Trump met with his top economic advisers at the White House Thursday afternoon to discuss an arrangement that would slash the overall rate on the tariffs he has placed on $360 billion of goods by half, in return for Chinese commitments to purchase American agriculture and other concessions, the people said.

The president was widely expected to announce that he would delay or cancel new tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on $160 billion of consumer products from China as of Sunday. On Thursday morning, he tweeted that the United States was closing in on a trade deal with China.

“Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!,” the president wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning.

Mr. Trump has yet to make an official announcement, and some advisers have cautioned that the president is the final arbiter of whether there will be a deal. Both sides have said they were on the verge of a deal before, only to see those agreements collapse.

The Chinese embassy in Washington directed inquiries to the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.

Stocks rose to a record on Thursday, with the S&P 500 gaining nearly 0.9 percent, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note touched 1.91 percent, the highest level in almost a month.

The benchmark has been trading in record territory as investors anticipated a de-escalation of the trade war, and amid signs that the domestic economy is holding up.

“We’re encouraged that China and the United States seem on the verge of a breakthrough on the phase one negotiations,” said Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “If accurate, it would be a positive first step in improving our commercial relationship at a time of great uncertainty.”

Mr. Trump announced in October that the United States and China had reached an agreement in principle on the first phase of a trade deal. But in the weeks since, a concrete agreement had proved elusive as the two countries continued to grapple over its precise terms.

Chinese negotiators pushed their American counterparts to remove as many of the existing tariffs as possible, while the Trump administration pushed China to make more purchases of soybeans, poultry and other goods to help relieve the pressure the trade war has put on American farmers.

To ensure that China keeps its commitments, the Trump administration has insisted on quarterly reviews, as well as an agreement that China’s agricultural purchases would not drop below a certain amount. If China violates the terms of the agreement, tariffs that the Trump administration had removed would snap back into place.

China has been willing to discuss purchases of American agriculture, especially since a disease has devastated its swine population and led to spiraling pork prices. But in previous discussions, Chinese negotiators had pushed back against promising set purchase amounts far-off into the future, saying such an arrangement could anger its trading partners and violate its commitments to the World Trade Organization to treat all members equally.

Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers have argued that the president does not need China to commit to the full $40-50 billion of agricultural purchases that he said he had secured earlier this year. Instead, they say, Mr. Trump should focus on getting China to purchase more than the record of $26 billion of agricultural goods it bought in 2012, which would allow him to claim on the campaign trail that he had secured the biggest trade deal with China ever. The deal would also require China to strengthen its protections for American intellectual property and open its financial markets to foreign firms, among other changes.

In recent months, American and Chinese officials have been locked in a contentious discussion of what proportion of American concerns about Chinese economic practices are being addressed in the Phase 1 deal, and whether a corresponding proportion of Mr. Trump’s tariffs should be rolled back. The Chinese had enumerated the American requests into a list of more than 100 items, and have argued that if they resolve half of them, then half of Mr. Trump’s existing tariffs should be removed.

Some American analysts have criticized the approach, saying a significant reduction could leave the United States with less leverage for the second- and third-phase discussions that are planned in the future, in which even more difficult subjects like Chinese subsidies would be included. They also point to the depreciation in China’s currency, the renminbi, this year, saying that drop would almost offset the impact of the tariffs.

But others say an across-the-board reduction in the rate of all existing tariffs does offer the Americans some advantages, including not having to pick and choose between industries that would receive tariff relief.

The last tranche of tariffs, which is scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 15, would extend levies to cover nearly every shoe, laptop and toy that the United States imports from China — a total of $539.5 billion of merchandise last year. Companies have been eagerly watching to see whether the administration would issue the official announcement that will stop those levies from going into effect.

Many of Mr. Trump’s advisers have been wary of increasing tariffs on China at a moment when negotiators from both sides are trying to reach agreement on the first phase of a trade deal. Still, the urge to delay the tariffs — or to reach a deal — has not been unanimous. Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s hawkish trade adviser, circulated a memo this week that makes the case for forging ahead with additional tariffs and delaying any deal until after the 2020 election.

Matt Phillips contributed reporting from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Signs Point to China Tariff Delay, but Decision Rests With Trump

Westlake Legal Group 10DC-CHINATARIFFS-01-facebookJumbo Signs Point to China Tariff Delay, but Decision Rests With Trump United States International Relations United States Economy International Trade and World Market Federal Taxes (US) Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) Agriculture and Farming

New tariffs on over $100 billion of Chinese goods are due to take effect on Sunday, but the Trump administration is sending mixed signals on delaying them as the United States and China keep haggling over a trade deal.

American officials have recently hinted in public remarks that President Trump could pause the new tariffs, which, if imposed, would expand American taxes to nearly every product imported from China. While many American officials are eager to avoid the tariffs, people with knowledge of the deliberations said that no decision had been made and that the president could go either way when he meets with advisers this week.

The United States and China announced in mid-October that they had reached a so-called Phase 1 trade agreement that would allow Chinese purchases of American agricultural goods to resume while the United States would cancel additional tariffs scheduled for Oct. 15. American officials said that future tariff increases could also be avoided if the pact were signed.

Since then, negotiators have continued to grapple over the deal’s terms. The two sides remain divided over how many of Mr. Trump’s tariffs will be canceled in return for China’s trade concessions, and over the terms that will govern Chinese purchases of tens of billions of dollars of American agricultural products.

A completed deal appears unlikely before Mr. Trump’s next scheduled tariff increase, set for 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 15. The move would place a 10 percent tariff on $160 billion of products, including toys, smartphones and other electronics, weighing on consumers and potentially turning into a political liability for a president headed into a re-election campaign. Business groups are worried about further levies.

“We’re still in a high-stakes poker game,” said Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Having another round of tariffs would be a poison pill in the context of the current U.S.-China negotiations, and in the context of the global economy,” Mr. Brilliant added. “We hope both sides understand the urgency of getting an agreement finalized as soon as possible.”

If Mr. Trump delays those tariffs to allow more time for negotiations, it would be the fifth time this year that he has delayed or canceled tariffs. That could prompt criticism that China is taking advantage of the negotiating process.

With pressure growing, administration officials have weighed a variety of options. Michael Pillsbury, a Hudson Institute scholar who advises Mr. Trump, drafted a memo that has been circulated to the White House outlining possible actions.

The memo, which was reviewed by The New York Times, included options like extending the deadline with a commitment to hold additional talks. A more aggressive approach would entail Mr. Trump ratcheting tariff rates higher, perhaps beyond 50 percent, and refusing to soften on any of his original demands.

The significant progress this week on moving Mr. Trump’s revised North American trade deal toward a vote in Congress appears to have further slowed progress toward a resolution by diverting the administration’s attention away from China.

As the deadline nears, the December tariffs’ fate has grown particularly cloudy. Some say that China has tried to appeal to Mr. Trump’s desire to see more farm purchases by offering a waiver on tariffs it had placed on American soybeans, a move that prompted Chinese companies to make large bulk purchases of American goods.

Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, said this week during a trip to Indiana that he did not expect the new tariffs would be imposed.

“I think we may see some backing away,” Mr. Perdue said, according to Bloomberg News. “I don’t think the president wants to implement these new tariffs but there’s got to be some movement on their part to encourage him not to do that and hopefully the signal that they sent over soy and pork reduction might be that signal.”

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the two sides were in constant contact and that an agreement should not be sidetracked by an “arbitrary” deadline.

But other officials were careful not to lift the threat just yet.

“Those tariffs are still on the table,” Larry Kudlow, the chairman of the National Economic Council, said at a WSJ CEO Council event on Tuesday, adding that he did not want to sound pessimistic about a deal.

Speaking at the same gathering on Monday, Jared Kushner, a close adviser to the president, said that he did not know what decision Mr. Trump would make but that the talks were “heading in a good direction.” Mr. Kushner has recently taken a more prominent role in the talks, offering to try to find common ground between the Chinese negotiators and his father-in-law.

Since Mr. Trump announced that he reached a deal in October, China has pushed for the United States to roll back tariffs it has placed on $360 billion worth of goods. Negotiations have centered on whether the United States would lift the tariffs it has imposed since September, or whether it might slash the overall rate for all or some of the tariffs in effect — for example reducing the existing tax on China by half.

Critics have said that the Phase 1 deal may only temporarily calm relations since it would do little to address America’s longer-term concerns about China’s economic practices.

The preliminary deal promises to lock in Chinese purchases of American agriculture goods, open Chinese financial markets to American companies and strengthen China’s protections for intellectual property. But analysts say it appears to secure only limited protections against China’s practices of coercing technology away from the United States, and does nothing to stop China’s pattern of heavily subsidizing its industries.

In a series of interviews in Beijing on Tuesday, people familiar with China’s trade policies said that the Chinese government had discernibly hardened its negotiating positions since Mr. Trump and Vice Premier Liu He reached their agreement in October.

The Phase 1 agreement attracted criticism from the more nationalistic wing of the Chinese government because it called for Beijing to resume buying American farm goods in exchange for the United States not raising tariffs further, but without any American pledge to roll back some of the tariffs already imposed. Any tariff cuts were left for later phases, an arrangement that was assailed in China as too favorable to the United States.

Since early November, Chinese negotiators have demanded that a Phase 1 deal include some tariff relief.

“They believe this will make the deal equal — otherwise it will be one-sided,” said Professor Tu Xinquan, the executive dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. The trade ministry founded the university and retains close links to it.

Deferring rollbacks to a Phase 2 or subsequent agreement is being resisted by Chinese negotiators, Mr. Tu said, adding that, “they want every agreement to be equal.”

But China has been wary of offering further concessions to offset a tariff rollback. That has stymied negotiators at least temporarily.

American officials say that they are still waiting for China to signal its willingness to make the necessary concessions to seal a deal.

Clete Willems, a partner at Akin Gump who left the White House this year, said China appeared to be taking actions, like the soybean purchases, to persuade the administration to delay the tariffs as both sides work toward a deal.

“The president has a decision to make,” Mr. Willems said, “and realistically he could still go both ways.”

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Trump Inflames the Trade Wars, Again

Westlake Legal Group 03dc-Trade01-facebookJumbo Trump Inflames the Trade Wars, Again United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Taxation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development North Atlantic Treaty Organization International Trade and World Market France Customs (Tariff) China

LONDON — President Trump left the global economy unsettled on Tuesday when he threatened NATO allies and suggested that he could wait a year to reach a trade agreement with China, sending stock markets swooning.

In comments to reporters sandwiched between meetings with fellow leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Mr. Trump said a trade deal with China might not be finalized until after the 2020 presidential election in November. Earlier this fall, he hinted that a deal was near completion, signaling that the trade war could be winding down.

But this week, peace no longer seems at hand. Beyond Mr. Trump’s downbeat assessment of the conflict with China, his administration is considering tariffs as high as 100 percent on French items including wines, cheeses and handbags. He promised to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel from Brazil and Argentina. And he raised fresh doubts about international negotiations that were supposed to defuse a growing conflict over how American technology companies are taxed in Europe.

The president’s affinity for using unpredictability as a negotiating tactic has angered trading partners and at times roiled financial markets — including on Tuesday, when stocks dropped in Europe and the United States after Mr. Trump’s trade comments. The S&P 500 index fell about 0.7 percent Tuesday, after a similar decline Monday.

“In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a 52-minute appearance in London with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general. He added: “But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right. It’s got to be right.”

The president also said Tuesday that he might impose new import taxes on goods from Germany and any other NATO ally that did not fully pay its dues to the organization, an inaccurate description of how the military alliance is maintained. Member states are expected to maintain robust military spending, but they do not pay dues.

He then renewed a threat, which his administration made in a formal trade investigation concluded on Monday, to place tariffs of up to 100 percent on some French exports. That would be in response to a new French tax on online economic activity, which will hit American giants like Amazon and Facebook. His administration has threatened similar actions in response to digital tax pushes in Italy, Turkey and Austria.

“They’re American companies,” Mr. Trump said. “We want to tax American companies. That’s important. We want to tax them, not somebody else.”

The threat of such draconian tariffs, which were spearheaded by Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, raised speculation that the Trump administration could abandon the tax talks taking place through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. However, the Treasury Department, which is leading those negotiations, is expected to proceed with them.

The events of recent days seem to have put an end to weeks of relative calm and record highs in the stock market, after more than a year of tumult largely caused by Mr. Trump’s decisions to impose tariffs on a variety of products, including $250 billion of imports from China.

The jolt to the stock market this week stood out after three straight months of placid trading and incremental gains. Measures of global policy uncertainty, while still historically elevated, had dipped this fall as Mr. Trump suggested a breakthrough with China was near. Farmers, who have been hurt by Chinese retaliatory tariffs against the United States, had reported a surge of economic optimism in November, according to an index compiled by Purdue University.

While some analysts argued that Mr. Trump’s bravado was a negotiating tactic that markets should ignore, others said the falling stock prices were a sign that investors had been too optimistic about the trade war. European leaders warned that they would retaliate if Mr. Trump levied tariffs on French goods, blaming him for escalating what is becoming a multinational fight over the taxation of tech companies. Some economic forecasters warned that Mr. Trump was risking the health of the global economy.

“It is remarkable how President Trump seems impervious to the delicate state of an economic expansion that is clearly long in the tooth,” Bernard Baumohl, the chief global economist for the Economic Outlook Group, wrote in a research note. He called Mr. Trump’s trade remarks “disheartening to say the least.”

Business groups expressed alarm about Mr. Trump’s China comments.

“We want and need to see a deal as soon as possible,” said David French, the senior vice president for government relations for the National Retail Federation. “The tariffs continue to hurt U.S. businesses, workers and consumers and are a substantial drag on the U.S. economy.”

But delaying a China deal could have political benefits for Mr. Trump, some analysts said.

“Any deal reached now will be subject to scrutiny for the next 12 months and the harsh disinfectant of sunlight during the general election cycle,” said Henrietta Treyz, the director of economic policy research at Veda Partners, an investment advisory firm. “Trade wars are political — right now, President Trump has the benefit of widespread bipartisan U.S. voter opposition to China and a robust consumer spending cycle.”

Mr. Trump’s trademark volatility was on full display Tuesday. At points, he seemed to suggest tensions with trading partners like France and even the long standoff with China could be easily resolved. At others, he suggested that he would make final deals only when he felt like it, and that more tariffs could be on the way in the interim. At one point, he said he would not settle for an “even” agreement with China — only one that favored the United States.

Administration officials sounded increasingly pessimistic that a first phase of any China deal would be reached anytime soon.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday that he believed holding off on a deal until after the election would give Mr. Trump more leverage in negotiations — assuming he won.

“Because once the election occurs — and the president seems to be in very good shape for the election — once it occurs and he’s back in, now that’s no longer a distraction that can detract from our negotiating position,” Mr. Ross told CNBC.

Mr. Ross said that the agreement in principle that Mr. Trump promoted in October was at the “40,000-foot level,” but that coming to terms on details such as what American agriculture products China would buy and how the deal would be enforced had proved to be more challenging. He said that barring a breakthrough, additional tariffs scheduled to be imposed on Dec. 15 would go into effect.

“We don’t have a breakthrough until it’s in black and white, on paper — signed, sealed and delivered,” he said.

Katie Rogers reported from London, and Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport from Washington. Matt Phillips contributed reporting from New York, Keith Bradsher from Shanghai and Ana Swanson from Boston.

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Trump Warns Trade Talks With China May Last Past 2020 Election

Westlake Legal Group merlin_144827730_0a95809f-b566-433c-b935-f76acc73018d-facebookJumbo Trump Warns Trade Talks With China May Last Past 2020 Election United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) Presidential Election of 2020 International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

LONDON — President Trump signaled on Tuesday that he was in no rush to end a long trade war with China, suggesting that he could wait until after the 2020 presidential election to strike a deal.

“I have no deadline,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a wide-ranging 52-minute appearance in London with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general. “In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal.”

He added: “But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right, it’s got to be right.”

Mr. Trump’s comments, which rattled European stock markets, cast more uncertainty on an agreement he said he had made weeks ago with China’s top trade envoy, Vice Premier Liu He. They announced in mid-October that they had reached a so-called Phase 1 trade agreement that would allow Chinese purchases of American agricultural goods to resume while the United States would cancel additional tariffs scheduled for Oct. 15.

While Mr. Trump said Tuesday that he had no deadline, he has threatened to impose another round of tariffs on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese goods on Dec. 15.

Administration officials had previously suggested that those tariffs could be canceled if the two sides concluded a trade deal. But sticking points remain — including whether Mr. Trump will remove any of the tariffs already placed on $360 billion worth of products. If he proceeds with that December round, the United States would essentially be taxing every shoe, television and laptop that China sends into the United States and risking more retaliation.

Completion of the Phase 1 deal has remained elusive, and the two sides have continued to grapple over terms. The Trump administration insists that China must offer more concessions to protect intellectual property and open its markets to American companies.

The original plan called for an agreement to be signed in mid-November by Mr. Trump and Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Santiago, Chile. But that meeting was canceled because of street protests over a subway fare increase in Santiago, and momentum on the trade talks appears to have slowed somewhat since then.

American and Chinese officials have remained fairly optimistic that a deal will be struck before the new tariffs take effect Dec. 15, but say the final decision will fall to Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi.

Chinese officials have increasingly tried to look past President Trump’s day-to-day remarks about the negotiations and have focused on trying to obtain the best deal they can from Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. But the president’s remarks continue to receive attention on Chinese social media and are followed closely in financial markets around the world.

Mr. Trump’s remark came several hours after markets and offices had closed in East Asia, and long after the daily Ministry of Foreign Affairs news briefing in Beijing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs seldom addresses trade issues, however, usually leaving them to the Ministry of Commerce, which holds a weekly news briefing on Thursday.

Even as Mr. Trump seeks an economic deal with the Chinese, his cautious and sometimes seemingly reluctant support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in recent days has added to diplomatic tensions.

He signed legislation last Wednesday that called for the United States to scrutinize the actions of officials in Beijing and Hong Kong more closely for possible human rights violations and to assess whether Hong Kong should keep its preferential treatment on trade and export control issues. He did so after the legislation passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof margins.

In a mostly symbolic retaliation, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that China would suspend visits to Hong Kong by American warships and impose sanctions on several United States-based nongovernmental groups, citing “unreasonable behavior.”

Still, Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he held the upper hand in trade negotiations.

“I’m doing very well on a deal with China, if I want to make it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s up to if they want to make it, it’s if I want to make it. We’ll see what happens.”

Katie Rogers reported from London and Keith Bradsher from Shanghai. Ana Swanson contributed reporting from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Warns Trade Talks With China May Last Past 2020 Election

Westlake Legal Group merlin_144827730_0a95809f-b566-433c-b935-f76acc73018d-facebookJumbo Trump Warns Trade Talks With China May Last Past 2020 Election United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) Presidential Election of 2020 International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

LONDON — President Trump signaled on Tuesday that he was in no rush to end a long trade war with China, suggesting that he could wait until after the 2020 presidential election to strike a deal.

“I have no deadline,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a wide-ranging 52-minute appearance in London with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general. “In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal.”

He added: “But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right, it’s got to be right.”

Mr. Trump’s comments, which rattled European stock markets, cast more uncertainty on an agreement he said he had made weeks ago with China’s top trade envoy, Vice Premier Liu He. They announced in mid-October that they had reached a so-called Phase 1 trade agreement that would allow Chinese purchases of American agricultural goods to resume while the United States would cancel additional tariffs scheduled for Oct. 15.

While Mr. Trump said Tuesday that he had no deadline, he has threatened to impose another round of tariffs on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese goods on Dec. 15.

Administration officials had previously suggested that those tariffs could be canceled if the two sides concluded a trade deal. But sticking points remain — including whether Mr. Trump will remove any of the tariffs already placed on $360 billion worth of products. If he proceeds with that December round, the United States would essentially be taxing every shoe, television and laptop that China sends into the United States and risking more retaliation.

Completion of the Phase 1 deal has remained elusive, and the two sides have continued to grapple over terms. The Trump administration insists that China must offer more concessions to protect intellectual property and open its markets to American companies.

The original plan called for an agreement to be signed in mid-November by Mr. Trump and Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Santiago, Chile. But that meeting was canceled because of street protests over a subway fare increase in Santiago, and momentum on the trade talks appears to have slowed somewhat since then.

American and Chinese officials have remained fairly optimistic that a deal will be struck before the new tariffs take effect Dec. 15, but say the final decision will fall to Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi.

Chinese officials have increasingly tried to look past President Trump’s day-to-day remarks about the negotiations and have focused on trying to obtain the best deal they can from Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. But the president’s remarks continue to receive attention on Chinese social media and are followed closely in financial markets around the world.

Mr. Trump’s remark came several hours after markets and offices had closed in East Asia, and long after the daily Ministry of Foreign Affairs news briefing in Beijing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs seldom addresses trade issues, however, usually leaving them to the Ministry of Commerce, which holds a weekly news briefing on Thursday.

Even as Mr. Trump seeks an economic deal with the Chinese, his cautious and sometimes seemingly reluctant support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in recent days has added to diplomatic tensions.

He signed legislation last Wednesday that called for the United States to scrutinize the actions of officials in Beijing and Hong Kong more closely for possible human rights violations and to assess whether Hong Kong should keep its preferential treatment on trade and export control issues. He did so after the legislation passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof margins.

In a mostly symbolic retaliation, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that China would suspend visits to Hong Kong by American warships and impose sanctions on several United States-based nongovernmental groups, citing “unreasonable behavior.”

Still, Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he held the upper hand in trade negotiations.

“I’m doing very well on a deal with China, if I want to make it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s up to if they want to make it, it’s if I want to make it. We’ll see what happens.”

Katie Rogers reported from London and Keith Bradsher from Shanghai. Ana Swanson contributed reporting from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Warns Trade Talks With China May Last Past 2020 Election

Westlake Legal Group merlin_144827730_0a95809f-b566-433c-b935-f76acc73018d-facebookJumbo Trump Warns Trade Talks With China May Last Past 2020 Election United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) Presidential Election of 2020 International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

LONDON — President Trump signaled on Tuesday that he was in no rush to end a long trade war with China, suggesting that he could wait until after the 2020 presidential election to strike a deal.

“I have no deadline,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a wide-ranging 52-minute appearance in London with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general. “In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal.”

He added: “But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right, it’s got to be right.”

Mr. Trump’s comments, which rattled European stock markets, cast more uncertainty on an agreement he said he had made weeks ago with China’s top trade envoy, Vice Premier Liu He. They announced in mid-October that they had reached a so-called Phase 1 trade agreement that would allow Chinese purchases of American agricultural goods to resume while the United States would cancel additional tariffs scheduled for Oct. 15.

While Mr. Trump said Tuesday that he had no deadline, he has threatened to impose another round of tariffs on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese goods on Dec. 15.

Administration officials had previously suggested that those tariffs could be canceled if the two sides concluded a trade deal. But sticking points remain — including whether Mr. Trump will remove any of the tariffs already placed on $360 billion worth of products. If he proceeds with that December round, the United States would essentially be taxing every shoe, television and laptop that China sends into the United States and risking more retaliation.

Completion of the Phase 1 deal has remained elusive, and the two sides have continued to grapple over terms. The Trump administration insists that China must offer more concessions to protect intellectual property and open its markets to American companies.

The original plan called for an agreement to be signed in mid-November by Mr. Trump and Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Santiago, Chile. But that meeting was canceled because of street protests over a subway fare increase in Santiago, and momentum on the trade talks appears to have slowed somewhat since then.

American and Chinese officials have remained fairly optimistic that a deal will be struck before the new tariffs take effect Dec. 15, but say the final decision will fall to Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi.

Chinese officials have increasingly tried to look past President Trump’s day-to-day remarks about the negotiations and have focused on trying to obtain the best deal they can from Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. But the president’s remarks continue to receive attention on Chinese social media and are followed closely in financial markets around the world.

Mr. Trump’s remark came several hours after markets and offices had closed in East Asia, and long after the daily Ministry of Foreign Affairs news briefing in Beijing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs seldom addresses trade issues, however, usually leaving them to the Ministry of Commerce, which holds a weekly news briefing on Thursday.

Even as Mr. Trump seeks an economic deal with the Chinese, his cautious and sometimes seemingly reluctant support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in recent days has added to diplomatic tensions.

He signed legislation last Wednesday that called for the United States to scrutinize the actions of officials in Beijing and Hong Kong more closely for possible human rights violations and to assess whether Hong Kong should keep its preferential treatment on trade and export control issues. He did so after the legislation passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof margins.

In a mostly symbolic retaliation, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that China would suspend visits to Hong Kong by American warships and impose sanctions on several United States-based nongovernmental groups, citing “unreasonable behavior.”

Still, Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he held the upper hand in trade negotiations.

“I’m doing very well on a deal with China, if I want to make it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s up to if they want to make it, it’s if I want to make it. We’ll see what happens.”

Katie Rogers reported from London and Keith Bradsher from Shanghai. Ana Swanson contributed reporting from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

French Wine Could Face 100% Tariffs as Trump Confronts France Over Tech Taxes

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-francetax-facebookJumbo French Wine Could Face 100% Tariffs as Trump Confronts France Over Tech Taxes World Trade Organization United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Science and Technology Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development International Trade and World Market France Customs (Tariff) Corporate Taxes

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Monday that a new French tax that hit American technology companies discriminated against the United States, a declaration that could lead to retaliatory tariffs of as high as 100 percent on French wines.

It could also jeopardize international efforts to negotiate a truce on so-called digital taxes.

The announcement from the Office of the United States Trade Representative ended a monthslong investigation into the French tax, which hits companies like Facebook and Google even though they have little physical presence in France. The investigation concluded that the tax “discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. companies.”

It recommended tariffs as high as 100 percent on certain French imports valued at $2.4 billion, including cheese, wine and handbags.

The administration suggested it could open similar investigations into digital taxes proposed by Italy, Austria and Turkey.

The finding does not immediately impose tariffs on French products such as wine, which was already hit with a 25 percent tariff in October in a separate dispute, but it allows the president to impose them if and when he chooses. It could also upend an effort led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to unite 135 countries around a shared system of taxing technology companies and other multinational corporations, which leaders had hoped would come together in 2020.

An escalation of tensions between France and the United States would complicate any resolution to those negotiations.

The French government approved a new “digital service tax” this year on online economic activity, which would hit large American tech companies widely frequented by French citizens. French leaders have expressed concern that their government has not been able to capture revenue from companies that sell or advertise online in France, a concern that is shared by a growing number of countries, including Britain and India.

President Trump’s trade representative responded to the French tax by opening the investigation into whether it unfairly targeted American companies. In July, the president threatened to impose tariffs on French wine as a response to the new tax.

But in August, French and American leaders reached a 90-day agreement to pause the dispute and allow multinational negotiations to proceed on an ambitious global agreement on taxes that would extend well beyond technology companies.

Those talks, which include an array of countries and multinational corporations, are making progress, said Bart le Blanc, an Amsterdam-based partner and tax adviser at the Norton Rose Fulbright law firm. But such an agreement would require countries like France to scrap their individual digital taxes, he said.

“There seems to be room for everybody to agree to this proposal,” Mr. le Blanc said, “if everything falls into place.”

While past administrations have treated European leaders as close economic allies, the Trump administration has taken a more adversarial approach. Mr. Trump has accused the Europeans of manipulating their currency and the terms of trade to export more goods to the United States than they import from it. He has threatened a variety of tariffs to block European goods from American markets.

In October, his administration slapped tariffs on French aircraft, wine and cheese and a range of other European products after the World Trade Organization gave the United States permission to impose levies on up to $7.5 billion of European exports annually. That decision was part of a long-running trade case about subsidies provided to the European plane maker Airbus.

On Monday, the World Trade Organization issued another ruling saying that Europe’s efforts to reform its subsidies had been insufficient and that its aid to Airbus still ran afoul of global trade rules. In a statement, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said it was starting a process to assess whether to increase its tariff rates or place levies on new European products.

The Trump administration has also considered other types of tariffs that do not have the approval of the World Trade Organization. Mr. Trump threatened to tax European cars, but chose to let a Nov. 13 deadline to impose those tariffs lapse last month.

Some in the administration have discussed opening a new investigation into European trade practices, under a legal authority known as Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, that could allow Mr. Trump to levy more tariffs, people familiar with the discussions said. That is the same sort of investigation that the administration conducted in the case of the French digital tax.

But there is no concrete sign that the administration has begun those machinations yet.

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