President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as today, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.
Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China's support in his negotiations with North Korea.
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Trump met several Cabinet members and trade advisers yesterday and was expected to impose tariffs of at least $35 billion to $40 billion on Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans. The tariffs could reach $55 billion, said the industry official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement.
If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing. Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk starting a trade war involving the world's two biggest economies.