US Examining Way To Balance Out Tariffs On Chinese Auto Imports

Gladys Abbott
December 4, 2018

Trump has thrown out the traditional U.S. playbook on free trade since his shock 2016 election, vowing to protect forgotten workers and put "America First".

President Donald Trump will hold a make-or-break trade meeting with his Chinese counterpart at the G-20 summit this week and also navigate a diplomatic minefield with Russia's president after unrest in Ukraine, the White House said on Tuesday.

In a phone call Wednesday, Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed their concern about the incident, said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The White House sees the dinner, which Kudlow hinted would involve Argentine beef, as an opportunity to "turn the page" on a trade war with China.

"I don't know if the Chinese take him (Trump) seriously".

Trump cited Russia's seizure of the ships as the reason he canceled a planned bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The warning from Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, came ahead of the two leaders' high-stakes sit-down on Saturday evening.

Xi said on Wednesday the global community needs to build consensus to solve the conflict between free trade and protectionism.

Asked whether the two sides had agreed on a list of agenda items for the leaders to discuss, Kudlow said: "We're in some significant preparation on all that".

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China responded with its own tariffs on $110 billion in USA goods. In a speech to lawmakers in Spain, where he is conducting a state visit before attending the summit in Argentina, he said the world is facing "instability, uncertainty and hot topics without precedents in our history".

"As we've all learned, he means what he says", Kudlow said. It exports growth since the start of the year has already been sluggish.

Trump has imposed steep punitive tariffs on about half of the Chinese goods imported into the US market each year, and has threatened to target the remaining $267 billion in goods as well - which would hit Apple iPhones and laptops produced in China.

On the trade front, Heisbourg said the question at the G20 was whether Xi will "rear up" against Trump's combative stance, or try to find an accommodation between the world's two largest economies.

US negotiators blocked progress at the Group of 20 summit on managing migration, slowing climate change, and streamlining how world trade is governed, according to European officials involved in the discussions.

"We are in a position to deal with it and handle it very well", he said.

Eleanor Olcott, a China policy analyst at TS Lombard, wrote in a note on Tuesday that "hopes for this meeting providing an off-ramp for the trade conflict should not be overstated" as there was a fundamental dissonance between the China and U.S. positions "that can not be solved over an Argentine steak".

"I wouldn't say we've ruled out any interaction", she said, although she stressed that "the president's schedule is pretty packed".

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