Trump retreat from china tariffs amid white house trade discord ajot.com ortega y gasset

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President Donald Trump retreated from imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods because of White House discord over trade strategy and concern about harming negotiations with North Korea, according to people briefed on the administration’s deliberations. Trump’s trade team: Steve Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Robert Lighthizer, Peter Navarro

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the administration’s plan to impose tariffs had been suspended, and Trump said on Twitter on Monday that the Chinese had agreed to purchase unspecified amounts of American farm products. Some of his loyalists led by former chief strategist Steven Bannon criticized the deal as a capitulation.

The agreement at least delays a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, a prospect that has rattled financial markets for months. But many U.S. concerns about China’s economic practices remain unresolved: its acquisition of American technologies; the country’s plans to subsidize the growth of advanced domestic industries such as artificial intelligence and clean energy; and U.S. companies’ access to China’s markets.

Bannon blamed Mnuchin. Trump “changed the dynamic regarding China but in one weekend Secretary Mnuchin has given it away,” he said in an interview. “Mnuchin has completely misread the geopolitical, military, and historical precedents, and what President Trump had done was finally put the Chinese on their back heels.”

Some White House officials blame poor coordination among the warring factions in Trump’s economic team for the retreat, according to several people briefed on the matter. Within the administration, divisions are raw between free-trade supporters such as Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and China hawks led by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.

The divisions are apparent in Trump’s public actions. In April, the Commerce Department cut off Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp. from its American suppliers in response to what Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called “egregious” violations of U.S. sanctions against doing business in Iran and North Korea.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who in recent days has been critical of how the Trump administration is handling trade issues with China, said that if the Journal story is true it means the U.S. has “surrendered” to the Chinese on ZTE issues. He said Congress will begin working on a veto-proof legislative fix.

Asked about the report, a foreign ministry spokesman told reporters Tuesday in Beijing that the trade deal is still being negotiated, without providing more detail. He repeated prior statements that a consensus had been reached and the U.S. would send a delegation to China to work out the details.

“China is pushing the president around, and he seems to accept it,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said in a speech on Monday. “The way to win real concessions from China is to stay tough, not to bluster and back off at the first sign of friction.”

Looming large over negotiations with China are separate but inextricable talks with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. Trump is counting on Chinese President Xi Jinping to maintain pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose country is economically dependent on China.

Last week, North Korea’s state-run news agency and top officials began issuing threats to back out of a planned June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim. Trump suggested himself that Xi was pulling strings in Pyongyang to put pressure on U.S. trade negotiators.

Some Republicans warned Trump that congressional seats held by their party that should have been safe in midterm elections were endangered by the trade dispute. Several farm-state lawmakers expressed relief that a damaging round of tariffs is—for now—no longer on the horizon.

“It gives the appearance that the Chinese are doing what they’ve always done to us: put in significant delay tactics,” DiMicco, who now serves on an advisory committee for the the U.S. Trade Representative, said in a phone interview. “It’s a road we’ve been down for 25 years and has gotten us nothing but trouble – -more theft of IP, more stealing and hacking of proprietary information of companies in this country, ever growing trade deficit in manufactured goods.