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Aug. 20, 2018, 5:31 p.m. EDT

Even with trade talks on tap, U.S. moves forward on new tariffs against China

Tariffs could be imposed on $200 billion of Chinese goods

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By Bob Davis and Andrew Duehren


Reuters
Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is moving closer this week to levying tariffs on nearly half of Chinese imports despite broad opposition from U.S. business and the start of a fresh round of talks between the U.S. and China to settle the trade dispute.

The twin administration initiatives — pursuing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods while relaunching talks to scrap tariffs — underscore a split within the U.S. administration, with negotiators in the U.S. Treasury Department offering a carrot, while the office of the U.S. trade representative threatens with a stick, both with the approval of President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with administration’s internal deliberations.

“Trump is a deal guy,” said one person closely following the talks. Until the Chinese make a concrete offer, the person said, the president will keep the pressure on China.

Trump continues to take a skeptical, hawkish view toward Beijing, said U.S. officials. At a fundraiser on Friday in the tony Hamptons section of New York’s Long Island, he focused on China, said two participants. The message was: “’They better pay attention because we’re not done with those guys yet,” said one of the participants.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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