Trump says tariffs will continue on Chinese imports

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday, 20 March that U.S. tariffs on imported products from China would continue, even as the two countries make strides toward resolving their trade issues.

Earlier this month, media reports indicated Chinese and American officials were close to a deal that would repeal the levies in exchange for China agreeing to purchase additional products. However, Trump’s comments to reporters outside the White House seemed to contradict, or at least dampen, those expectations.

“We’re talking about leaving them (on) for a substantial period of time,” Trump said. “We have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal. Because they’ve had a lot of problems living by certain deals.”

The current trade war has hit the seafood industry particularly hard on both sides as China introduced a 25 percent tariff on American seafood imports last year, and the U.S. countered by hiking its tariffs on Chinese seafood imports by 10 percent.

The seafood industry has just been one of many that have suffered over the past year as a result of the tariffs. According to a report from four college economists published this month by the National Bureau for Economic Research, imports from targeted counties, not just China, dropped by nearly 32 percent, while American exports slumped by 11 percent. The end result being a USD 7.8 billion (EUR 6.9 billion) loss. 

After Trump made his comments, a national campaign by industries affected by the tariffs, which includes the National Fisheries Institute  – the trade group representing the U.S. seafood industry – issued a statement saying American businesses and consumers have been the ones paying the tariffs, and those additional fees have hindered the economy. 

“Continuing these tariffs indefinitely is a serious mistake that will create more layoffs, price hikes and uncertainty in every corner of the country,”  Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said. “We urge the administration to reach a deal with China that includes full and immediate removal of tariffs on both sides and provides clarity for American businesses, farmers, and consumers.”


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