After much theatrics and 11th hour negotiations, the US more than doubled tariffs to 25% on more than $200 billion in good imports from China just after midnight on Friday in what has been dubbed the "most dramatic step yet" in Donald Trump’s crusade to extract trade concessions from Beijing, deepening a nearly two-year old conflict that has roiled global markets and impacted the world economy.
While the White House said in a statement that talks are set to resume Friday, setting the stage for a tense final day of negotiations between Liu He, China's vice premier and Robert Lighthizer, the US trade rep, Bloomberg reports that according to "close observers" there is little hope for any meaningful breakthroughs, especially since Liu does not have the authority to make any meaningful commitments, while an alleged phone call between Trump and president Xi yielded no positive results. It was also unclear, Bloomberg adds, whether China had resolved the internal debates that had led to last week’s rescinding of prior commitments to enshrine reforms agreed in Chinese law.
News that the US would hike tariffs, and set off a sequence of events that would most likely result in further escalation pushed US equity futures, treasury yields and the USDJPY lower around midnight.
In response to the tariff hike, China immediately said in a statement it "deeply regrets the latest tariff hike" and that it will be forced to take countermeasures against the US actions, but didn’t specify how, even as it said that it sill hopes the two sides can resolve issues via ongoing consultations.
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