Trump pushes back on reports US will remove China tariffs

US President Donald Trump said he has not agreed to a rollback on tariffs. (Reuters)
Updated 10 November 2019

Trump pushes back on reports US will remove China tariffs

  • The tariffs imposed in September covered clothes, toys, and shoes, raising prices for many widely used consumer goods

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump has denied a Chinese official’s assertion that his administration has agreed to roll back some of the higher tariffs it has imposed on Chinese goods.
The Chinese official said on Thursday that the two sides had agreed to a phased cancelation of their tariff hikes as part of an emerging agreement.
Trump’s pushback suggested that negotiations have not progressed as far as hoped as the world’s two biggest economies struggle to negotiate an end to their trade war, which has hurt both economies.
“They’d like to have a rollback,” Trump told reporters at the White House, referring to the Chinese. “I haven’t agreed to anything.”
The two sides have been working on an initial “Phase 1” deal that was announced Oct. 12 but that still is not final.
Financial markets in the US and globally rallied on Thursday at the prospect of an agreement to wind down the US-China trade fight, but then stumbled on Friday on Trump’s comments before eking out small gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 6.44 points, or less than 0.1 percent, after shedding as many as 96 points earlier in the day.
Trump repeated his claims that China wants a deal more than the US and that America benefits from extra tariff revenue. The president says the tariffs are paid by China, but studies conducted since the duties were imposed find that Americans businesses and consumers are paying them.
“Frankly, they want to make a deal a lot more than I do,” Trump said. “I’m very happy right now. We’re taking in billions of dollars.”
A private sector source with knowledge of the talks said on Thursday that the US had agreed to suspend the duties Trump threatened to impose on Dec. 15 on about $160 billion of Chinese imports as part of the agreement. But there is dissension in the White House about whether and by how much to roll back 15 percent duties on another $112 billion of goods imposed Sept. 1.

FASTFACT

1.9% - US economic growth fell to 1.9 percent at an annual rate in the July-September quarter from 3.1 percent in the first three months of this year.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also told Bloomberg News on Thursday that if a deal were reached, it would include reduced tariffs.
“The White House never speaks with one voice,” Mary Lovely, a trade economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said on Thursday.
Despite Trump’s cavalier comments, analysts say the administration has plenty of incentives to reach a deal soon. Trump said last month that the “Phase 1” pact would include the purchase of tens of billions of dollars of US farm products by China, which would benefit farm states, many of which supported Trump in 2016.
The tariffs imposed in September covered clothes, toys, and shoes, raising prices for many widely used consumer goods.
And the Dec. 15 tariffs would mostly hit popular consumer products such as smart phones and laptops. Not only would that also raise consumer costs, but those tariffs would affect many products designed by US companies, for which China gets relatively little of the economic benefit.
“The December tariff round would largely hit products designed and marketed by multinational firms, mostly with components from the US and its allies, and assembled in non-Chinese-owned factories,” Lovely wrote on the Peterson Institute’s website .
The trade war stems from the Trump administration’s complaints that China is boosting its high-tech industries by stealing US technology or forcing American companies to share it as a condition of doing business there.


Davos 2020: Ministers, top executives in Saudi delegation to WEF

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, center, his wife Hilde, left, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen are seated during the opening session of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP)
Updated 21 January 2020

Davos 2020: Ministers, top executives in Saudi delegation to WEF

  • A large KSA contingent comprising 55 senior figures will be attending the WEF in Davos
  • Around 3,000 leaders from business, public policy, culture and technology will be in attendance

DAVOS: Some 3,000 leaders from the worlds of business, public policy, culture and technology are due to arrive in the Alpine town of Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which begins on Tuesday.

The meeting this year — under the theme “stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world” — is the 50th time the annual meeting has been held in the Swiss resort, but it comes at a time of growing global tensions over climate change and geopolitical confrontation.

Last week, the WEF published its annual global risk report, one of the gloomiest ever, with global experts concerned about accelerating environmental damage and potential political flashpoints in several parts of the world.

Saudi Arabia is sending a top-level delegation to the meeting, headed by Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet, with some 55 senior figures.

They include ministers and senior executives from industry, finance and the economy, in addition to many other Saudi participants attending for bilateral meetings and support roles, as well as the event’s legendary networking.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman will attend his first WEF annual meeting since he was named energy minister last year. Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman will also attend.

Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, will attend for the first time as head of a publicly listed company following the oil giant’s successful initial public offering (IPO) last year.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and the WEF have grown stronger as the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 strategy has accelerated.

Later this year, Riyadh will play host to a meeting of the WEF under the banner of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the brainchild of Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.

“On the eve of its G20 presidency, we welcome the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia … to shape those technologies in a way that serves society,” Schwab said.

In contrast with the strong participation from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, notably the UAE, Iran has pulled out of the meeting altogether because of the heightened political tensions in the region following the killing of the country’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in a US strike earlier this month.

President Donald Trump is leading a big American delegation to the event, the second time he has attended Davos since moving into the White House, having missed last year. He is due to deliver a keynote address on the opening day of the meeting.

Climate change and its consequences look certain to be a big topic in snowy Davos, where the temperature rarely rises above freezing.

Greta Thunberg, the young environmental campaigner, is also taking part in sessions, including one on “averting a climate apocalypse.”

She has hiked over the Alps to get to Davos, having pledged not to use environmentally damaging public transport.

Davos 2020 is split across seven key themes: Healthy futures, how to save the planet, better business, beyond geopolitics, technology for good, fairer economies, and society and the future of work.

On climate change, the WEF said: “The Earth is getting hotter, the ice is melting, the oceans are rising, and they’re filling up with plastic. We’re losing species, building up greenhouse gases, and running out of time. It’s easy to feel downhearted.”

On rising geopolitical tensions, it added: “We need to move from geopolitics and international competition to a default of consummate global collaboration. Nations are going to have to change.”

In an effort to change the event’s image as a showy gathering of the global elite, often traveling in helicopters and limousines to the Alpine resort, the WEF has offered to pay half of the first-class rail fare from anywhere in the world to Davos.