- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2019

President Trump said Thursday he will decide whether to slap tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods after the G20 summit later this month, signaling his threat remains an option if the two superpowers cannot seal a truce to their trade war.

Speaking in France, Mr. Trump said he will decide how to proceed after pulling aside Chinese President Xi Jinping at the global summit in Osaka, Japan.

“I will make that decision over the next two weeks. Probably right after the G20,” he said during a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The president said he is optimistic, despite rising tensions.

“A lot of interesting things are happening. We’ll see what happens,” he said earlier Thursday, in Ireland. “But I think China wants to make a deal badly.”

Mr. Trump last month imposed a 25-percent tariff on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, after trade talks that appeared to be nearing the finish line fell apart. The White House accused China of reneging on previously negotiated details.

China increased levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods as payback for Mr. Trump’s moves, rattling markets and placing farmers in the crosshairs of the trade war.

Mr. Trump rolled out an aid package of up to $16 billion to ease farmers’ pain, but since then he has threatened to tax even more Chinese goods, claiming it brings money into U.S. coffers and resets a trade imbalance.

Yet the threat, combined with Mr. Trump’s push to punish Mexico for immigration through tariffs, could result in higher consumer prices, as importers pass along the costs.

Global finance gurus are worried. In a blog post Wednesday, the head of the International Monetary Fund said the trade war could slash about 0.3% from the global economy in 2020.

The loss in the world’s gross domestic product would be equivalent to $455 billion, or greater than South Africa’s entire economy.

“There are growing concerns over the impact of the current trade tensions. The risk is that the most recent U.S.-China tariffs could further reduce investment, productivity and growth,” wrote IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

“The just-proposed U.S. tariffs on Mexico are also of concern,” she added. “Indeed, there is strong evidence that the United States, China and the world economy are the losers from the current trade tensions.”

Tensions have rippled beyond tariffs.

The U.S. blacklisted Chinese tech company Huawei and is urging other nations to resist the company’s 5G technology, citing its purported coziness with the Communist government’s surveillance capabilities.

In kind, the Chinese government developed a list of “unreliable entities” that could target U.S. tech giants.

It also issued a pair of formal advisories against travel to the U.S., warning that citizens could be subjected to “harassment” or could fall victim to increased gun violence and robberies across the U.S.

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