National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said President Donald Trump has "not been satisfied" with trade talks with China and confirmed the U.S. was preparing additional tariffs because Beijing's economic reforms were moving in the wrong direction.
"The president has suggested tariffs on a couple $100 billion" in Chinese goods, Kudlow told CNBC's Becky Quick on Monday at the Economic Club of New York.
"He has not been satisfied with the talks with China on this. My guess is that an announcement will be coming soon," the veteran financial guru and former Ronald Reagan adviser said.
Bloomberg News earlier reported that the Trump administration will soon impose s imposing a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, which Beijing has already said it will retaliate against, according to three people familiar with the decision.
The rate is less than half of the 25 percent level the administration had initially been considering. Still, American consumers could start feeling the cost of the tariffs for everyday goods, as the latest move brings all Chinese imports subject to a new tariff to $250 billion, roughly half of China’s shipments to the U.S. last year.
Trump is barreling ahead with his vow to punish China for alleged unfair trading practices, despite an invitation this month from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to restart trade talks with Beijing. Chinese officials have signaled they’ll refuse to meet with Mnuchin if this next round of tariffs is imposed, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
However, the U.S. is ready to negotiate a trade deal with China whenever Beijing is prepared for serious talks that will reduce tariffs and eliminate non-tariff trade barriers, said Kudlow, who served as the Trump campaign's senior economic adviser.
“We are ready to negotiate and talk with China any time that they are ready for serious and substantive negotiations toward free trade to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers, to open markets, to allow the most competitive economy in the world, ours, to export more and more goods and services to China,” said Kudlow, who worked as Reagan’s budget deputy between 1981 and 1985.
The upcoming tariffs will be on a list of items that included internet technology products and other electronics, printed circuit boards and consumer goods, including Chinese seafood, furniture and lighting products, tires, chemicals, plastics, bicycles and car seats for babies, Reuters explained.
It was unclear if the administration will exempt any of the products that were on the list, which was announced in July.
Economists at UBS Group AG say even a 10 percent tariff would slow the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter by enough to stop the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates again in December, Bloomberg reported.
Material from Bloomberg and Reuters has been used in this report.
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