The Trump administration has found itself in an odd position regarding trade and foreign policy.

While negotiations with the European Commission have already begun, the White House is currently also considering raising its tariffs against China. The newly proposed tariffs would cover a quarter of the products’ original price and would affect over $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

This is a radical change from the previously considered sanctions, which would only cover ten percent. The latest proposal doubles this percentage. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is analyzing the option of increasing tariffs on items including vegetables, fruits, and refrigerators. His department will continue to accept feedback on the proposals until September 5th, a deadline which has been expanded as context changes.

Lighthizer stated:

The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is intended to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens.”

Announcements of tariff increases have been met with a great deal of backlash, as many have stated that U.S. consumer and businesses are facing harsh consequences from Trump’s trade wars. The White House has specifically received criticism for not being willing to negotiate with China. China has repeatedly called for international dialogue instead of open economic attacks.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry now seems to be less willing to negotiate and find an easier solution, as it has released a statement reading:

China’s position is firm and clear cut. It remains unchanged. The blackmailing and pressure by the US will never work on China if the US take measures to further escalate the situation we will surely take countermeasures to firmly uphold our legitimate rights and interests.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also been involved in controversy by not attempting to negotiate with world leaders during the G20 summit held in mid-July. According to reports, Mnuchin stuck to the U.S.’ previous positions on trade, and all other representatives disagreed with this approach.

 

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