While global markets wait to see whether U.S. President Donald Trump will levy tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, there’s reason to believe that the impact of those proposed tariffs has already been softened by Trump himself.
According to Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), as many as “one thousand products” on the U.S. Trade Representative’s tariff list would be exempted by the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018, or MTB. According to Pascrell’s spokesperson, Mark Greenbaum, that figure was arrived at through “internal analysis.”
Trump signed the bill Thursday.
According to a White House statement, the MTB which exempts about 1,700 products “provides for duty suspensions and reductions for specified chemicals and other items through December 31, 2020.”
While Pascrell voted for the bill, he did so with this observation: “What is confusing right now is the fact that, while the Administration continues to move forward with tariffs that will cover nearly half of all imported products from China, the MTB will reduce or remove tariffs on many of the same products,” said Pascrell in floor remarks on September fourth.
It’s unclear if the White House sees a contradiction.
“The President has been clear that he and his administration will continue to take action to address China’s unfair trade practices. We encourage China to address the long standing concerns raised by the Unites States,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters in a statement to CGTN America.
The bill offers only temporary relief from tariffs, “maintaining an incentive for companies to develop the capability to manufacture these products in the United States,” according to the Republican Policy Committee’s Summary.