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US to Raise Tariffs on Chinese Imports as Vice Premier Visits Washington


FILE - Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (R) gestures as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (C) chats with his Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) before their meeting in Beijing, May 1, 2019.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrives in Washington this week for trade talks as the United States prepares to raise tariffs on Chinese goods in the middle of his visit.

The U.S. will boost tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports on Friday, according to a notice published Wednesday in the Federal Register from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

The increase takes effect on the second day of Liu’s visit, but it will not dampen hopes for an agreement, at least in the mind of U.S. President Donald Trump.

“China has just informed us that they (Vice-Premier) are now coming to the U.S. to make a deal,” Trump said Wednesday in a post on Twitter.

Trump said he would be “happy” to maintain tariffs on Chinese imports, and added that Beijing would be mistaken if it hopes to negotiate trade later with a Democratic presidential administration.

"They broke the deal. So they're flying in. The vice premier tomorrow is flying in, but they broke the deal. They can't do that. So they'll be paying," Trump told supporters at a rally in Florida.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry reacted to the announced tariff increase, vowing to take "necessary" countermeasures if the tax is implemented. The ministry said escalating trade tensions are not beneficial to either country or to the world.

Trump set the new Friday deadline to raise tariffs after the U.S. accused China of reneging earlier this week on commitments made during months of talks to end their trade war. The administration hopes the new tariffs will force changes in China's trade, subsidy and intellectual property practices.

The two sides have been unable to reach a deal due, in part, to differences over the enforcement of an agreement and a timeline for removing the tariffs.