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August 27, 2019

Mixed messages as US-China trade war intensifies before talks announced

Just days after the US and China intensified their tit-for-tat trade spat with the introduction of further tariffs, there may be better news on the horizon.

By Leonie Barrie

President Trump has said the US and China will “very shortly” resume trade talks just days after the economic giants intensified their tit-for-tat spat with the introduction of further tariffs.

Speaking at the G7 summit in France, President Trump said: “China called last night… said let’s get back to the table. So we’ll be getting back to the table.”

This latest twist came days after the US announced further tariffs on Chinese goods sold into the US. On Friday (23 August) it said it would begin the process of raising tariffs on around US$250bn of Chinese imports from 25% to 30% from 1 October.

The US also said fresh tariffs on an additional $300bn of Chinese goods, announced earlier this month, would now be at a rate of 15% instead of 10%. The first batch of those tariffs will be introduced in September.

The move came after China announced plans to hit $75bn worth of US goods with new tariffs and hikes to existing duties.

On the prospect of fresh talks between the nations, the UK’s BBC suggested that the president had come under pressure from his allies at the G7 summit in Biarritz to end the trade war as it is threatening the world economy.

However, it pointed out that China has yet to confirm any new talks.

The US and China have been embroiled in a trade war for more than a year with the US, in the BBC‘s words, “trying to force Beijing to reform its trade practices, arguing that American firms face an uneven playing field due to issues such as intellectual property theft”.

A series of tit-for-tat moves has seen tariffs introduced on a substantial number of US and Chinese products sold in each other’s markets, including many food items.

Announcing its latest round of tariffs on Friday, the Office of the US Trade Representative said it was taking the action as “China announced it will impose unjustified tariffs targeting US products”.

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