A day after big losses on Wall Street over fears about an escalating trade fight between the U.S. and China, the Trump Administration on Tuesday announced that tariffs on certain imported electronics from China would be delayed until mid-December, though thousands of other products will still face a 10 percent tariff starting on September 1.
The announcement by the U.S. Trade Representative noted that tariffs won't happen immediately on "cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing."
But a number of imported items from China will be subjected to the 10 percent import duties, as the Trump Administration issued a 122 page list of products, covering everything from "Live purebred breeding horses" to "bleached beeswax," women's overcoats, ski boots, aluminum fittings, table knives, and much more.
The decision to relax some of the tariffs against China spurred stock gains on Tuesday, as Chinese officials said trade talks with the U.S. would resume in the next two weeks.
"This is good news," said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). "China’s smart to come to the table. Everyone would benefit if China would stand down, drop their unfair trade practices and embrace free trade once and for all."
"During this delay period, we urge the administration to develop an effective strategy to address China’s unfair trade practices by working with our allies instead of using unilateral tariffs that cost American jobs and hurt consumers," said David French, a top official with the National Retail Federation.
Democrats meanwhile continued to denounce the President's trade fight with China, echoing the complaints of major business and agricultural groups.
"Unfortunately, today’s announcement doesn’t address the vast majority of tariffs that are driving uncertainty, putting farmers out of business and causing small businesses to slow hiring," said the group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.
"Trump's trade wars are a major threat to the economy," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA).
"Between Mother Nature and Trump’s trade war, there’s no doubt this is a difficult time for our agricultural economy," said Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL).
"How about just not starting a trade war, period?" said Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN).
On Monday, the Treasury Department raised its forecast for how much money U.S. companies would have to pay in order to import Chinese goods, raising the estimate to $81 billion in 2019 - almost double the $41 billion collected from tariffs in 2018.
At a stop in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, President Trump made no bones about his support for tariffs as a way to help spur job creation in the United States, arguing that other nations have held an unfair edge under past trade deals.
“They have been screwing us for years,” the President said.
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