ZTE Trump

It’s Back On: The Trade War with China Starts Up Again

Four things make escalation at this point particularly odd.  First, US Commerce Secretary Wlibur Ross is scheduled to arrive in China on June 2 to continue trade negotiations.  After the meetings in Beijing that ended on May 19, US officials like Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin had said that the tariffs for 301 would be suspended while talks continued. Second, only last Friday, US President Donald Trump declared that he had “solved” the situation with the Chinese firm ZTE by imposing such measures as a significant new fine and requiring American compliance officials to be stationed inside the company.  Trump promised to undo the suspension of ZTE from the American marketplace for seven years, allowing the company to remain in business. Both the dispatch of Ross and the swift climbdown over ZTE gave little hint that the Section 301 tariff hikes would be on the cards in the near term.  Thus, the statement from the White House at this time with precise dates in June was unexpected.