Dear Commons Community,
In response to mounting pressure from business and community groups, President Trump yesterday unexpectedly put off new tariffs on many Chinese goods, including cellphones, laptop computers and toys, until after the start of the Christmas shopping season, acknowledging the effect that his protracted trade war with Beijing could have on Americans. Mr. Trump pushed a 10 percent tariff on some imports to Dec. 15, and excluded others from it entirely. The stock market soared after the announcement, following weeks of volatility driven by fears that the standoff between the world’s two largest economies could hamper global economic growth. As reported by the New York Times:
“The decision was the latest twist in a dispute during which China and the United States have alternately escalated tensions with tit-for-tat tariffs and softened their positions as they sought a deal.
Mr. Trump continued to insist yesterday that the trade war was hurting only China. But he also admitted that there was potential for the new tariffs to inflict economic pain closer to home.
“Just in case they might have an impact on people,” the president told reporters, “what we’ve done is we’ve delayed it so that they won’t be relevant for the Christmas shopping season.”
Mr. Trump, frustrated that negotiations had failed to yield an agreement, said on Aug. 1 that the United States would impose the 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports on Sept. 1. That would be in addition to a 25 percent tariff already imposed on $250 billion of Chinese goods.
But on Tuesday, the United States trade representative’s office said that while a substantial amount of Chinese imports would be subject to the Sept. 1 levy as planned, various consumer electronics, shoes and other items would be spared until mid-December.
The office also said it was dropping 25 types of products from the tariff list altogether “based on health, safety, national security and other factors.” The items include car seats, shipping containers, cranes, certain fish, and Bibles and other religious literature, a spokesman said.”
The deal-maker in chief just blinked (thankfully)!