Assertions of a ‘big leap forward’ are based on few details and little confirmation from ChinaTariffs are a tax, not a membership fee to trade in US economy as Trump seems to claim
Eager for a historic trade agreement, US President Donald Trump is claiming done deals with China that are not measuring up to the hype.
He describes last week’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as “extraordinary” and a “big leap forward”. China, however, has provided few details and little confirmation about what it actually agreed to do in regard to buying more American products and addressing the Trump administration’s assertions that Beijing steals American technology.
Trump claimed that China had agreed to reduce or eliminate its 40 percent tariffs on cars imported from the US His top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, acknowledged no deal had been “signed and sealed and delivered yet”.
A look at the claims and the facts.
TRUMP: “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the US Currently the tariff is 40%.” — tweet on Sunday.
THE FACTS: Nearly a week later, it’s still not clear if this will happen. When asked about the matter, Kudlow would only say that he hoped China would remove its tariffs on US autos.
“We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that, but I will just tell you, as an involved participant, we expect those tariffs to go to zero,” he told reporters on Monday. Pressed again on Tuesday, Kudlow said on “Fox and Friends” that he expected China to move quickly on removing the tariffs “if they’re serious about this”.
“I think it’s coming, OK?” he said. “It hasn’t been signed and sealed and delivered yet.”
The White House’s confusing and conflicting words have left Wall Street sceptical.
“It doesn’t seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner and White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels to reconcile Trump’s tweets (which seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated) with reality,” JPMorgan told investors in a trading note.
On Thursday, a Chinese official said that China will “immediately implement the consensus reached by the two sides on farm products, cars and energy,” but did not address the auto tariffs specifically or provide any additional details.
Trump has cast doubt on whether a firm agreement had been reached, tweeting on Tuesday that his administration will determine “whether a REAL deal with China is actually possible”.
TRUMP: “I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN.” — tweet on Tuesday.
THE FACTS: Trump seems to be claiming that tariffs are some kind of a membership fee for foreign companies to trade-in the US economy.

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