Jun 19, 2018

The big picture: Trump's latest Chinese tariffs announcement

Photo: Artyom Ivanov/TASS via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Monday that he wants to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese exports on which to add tariffs of 10% — in addition to the $50 billion in tariffs the administration has already announced — which could set off the next battle in a burgeoning trade war.

What to expect: China has said it will hit back with its own tariffs, as it has done before. If that happens, Trump said in last night's announcement that he wants to identify another $200 billion of Chinese exports to tax. That would total $450 billion in Chinese exports. China exported $505 billion to the U.S. in 2017, so the U.S. would nearly run out of exports to tax. The U.S. exported about $130 billion to China last year.

The timeline: It is likely that a list of the United States' first batch of tariffs would be presented in August, followed by a public comment period, and go live in September, per Cowen Washington Research Group. The second set, if enacted, could go in place by October or November.

  • 659 products will be affected by the $50 billion of tariffs previously announced — and farmers, crude oil, and coal producers will be hit the hardest.

The White House buzz on whether consumers will be negatively impacted: Peter Navarro, one of Trump's top trade advisors, told reporters on a call Tuesday that Americans "know the president has their back" and said "the economic effects will be relatively small."

  • Although Navarro suggested this is not about the greater China-U.S. relationship and just a trade dispute, he also said that what China does "will help define our future relationship."
  • But Navarro also cautioned that there are no negotiations planned with China at the moment: "Our phone lines have been open. They have always been open."

One more thing: The White House will be releasing a report later today detailing the six ways China steals American technology — including through physical theft, cyber theft, and just theft, as well as evading export controls, and forced transfers, according to Navarro.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.