The financial media is all a flutter based on a Bloomberg report that President Trump is likely to apply tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. DUH ! Why do they think U.S.T.R. Lighthizer has been conducting open section 301 tariff hearings for the past week? Of course President Trump is considering tariffs on $200 billion in trade goods; this approach is not exactly a secret.
Then again, most of the financial media are clueless about the larger economic strategy and how China ties into the negotiations with North Korea. I digress.
The proposed tariffs are a supplemental action in response to China’s unfair trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, based on the findings in USTR’s investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Tariffs on $34 billion in goods from China are currently in effect, and tariffs on an additional $16 billion took effect on August 23rd, 2018.
The issue is not *if* President Trump will apply the 301-tariffs, the question is *how* and *when*?
Only President Trump knows the answer to that question because everything about the larger strategy is only known by the person making the ultimate decisions, President Trump.
The goals are clear: leverage a more fair, equitable and reciprocal trade relationship with China; and also gain national and regional security for Southeast Asia with a denuclearized and stable Korean peninsula.
The $200 billion in 301-tariffs is a tool, leverage, nothing more. President Trump is following a very logical sequence with multiple simultaneous actions. Finalize the North American Trade Bloc using U.S-Mexico terms (possibly with Canada); then focus on the EU trade element, possibly doing a bilateral deal with the U.K. at the same time; then shift to Asia and specifically China.
The advancing Trump trade agenda has multiple fronts all coordinated by President Trump and his team: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer; with input and targeted messaging from NEC Director Larry Kudlow and Trade Advisor Peter Navarro.
Each member of the team has a specific region for review and strategy. However, the larger direction of the team, and every specific action within each move, is coordinated by President Trump.