Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned of a coming tariff hike if China does not finalize the specifics of a newly negotiated partial trade deal announced by President Donald Trump last week.
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The tariffs on 15% of $160 billion worth of Chinese goods impacting consumer electronics– cellphones, laptops, toys–would go into effect by Dec. 15. It was previously unclear whether the December tariffs would go into effect, given that both the U.S. and China are actively engaged in trade talks.
(MORE: Trump announces US-China ‘phase 1’ trade deal, tariff truce)
“I have every expectation that if there’s not a deal, those tariffs would go in place,” said Sec. Mnuchin on CNBC. “But I expect we’ll have a deal.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, right, listens with President Donald Trump during their meeting with Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Oct. 11, 2019.
The tariffs scheduled for this month on $250 billion worth of Chinese products, however, will no longer go into effect as Mnuchin described both sides as “having reached a fundamental understanding of key issues.”
Should the December tariffs go into effect, China would likely respond by imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods at what would be the peak of the holiday shopping season.
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“We have a fundamental agreement,” Mnuchin said on CNBC. “It is subject to documentation and there’s a lot of work to be done on that front.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin takes a question from a reporter after announcing the threat of sanctions on Turkey in the Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 11, 2019.
The trade talks are expected to continue when President Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at an Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit next month in Chile.