US accuses China of reneging on trade deal, threatens tariff escalation   

US accuses China of reneging on trade deal, threatens tariff escalation   

07/05/19

Luke Foddy, Communications Manager

The US has threatened to impose new tariffs on Chinese imports this Friday and increase those on US$200 billion of goods by more-than-double, according to tweets by President Trump.

The escalation seems to be in response to backtracking by Chinese officials on terms of the deal which would substantially alter its impact, Reuters reports. The President accused Beijing of trying to “renegotiate” the deal, an accusation which US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer doubled down on yesterday.

 

 

Lighthizer described an “erosion of commitment by China” over the last week which “is in our view unacceptable,” reports the BBC.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, sought to downplay the comments, saying the US has threatened tariff hikes “several times” before, that China’s position on the issue has “always” been very clear, and that the US knows it “very well,” Caixin Media reports.

Chinese state media outlet Xinhua said a delegation from Beijing is heading to Washington this week for planned talks.

The escalation marks a new twist in the US-China trade war, which had appeared to be nearing a conclusion. There was widespread optimism last week as talks appeared to be heading towards a positive outcome, with both sides finding consensus and agreeing terms of enforcing a deal. Analysts predicted an announcement as early as this Friday.

However, unless a breakthrough can be achieved this week, it seems the only announcement this Friday will be more punitive measures.