The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office announced on Friday that it was officially delaying for a week tariff hikes on numerous products imported from China. The announcement said the tariffs, which had initially been set to rise to 25% on June 1, would instead remain at their current level of 10% until June 15. The USTR first gave notice in mid-May it would delay the hike.
It is unclear exactly how extensive the list of items is that will remain under the 10% rate thanks to the exception. References in Friday’s announcement however indicate it covers a wide range of agricultural products, livestock, fish, electrical equipment, and furniture, among other items. The 10% rate initially covered $200 billion in Chinese goods.
The announcement, posted in the Federal Register Friday, did not give a rationale for the exception but it gives importers extra time to get goods in before the rates go up. Trade negotiations between the U.S and Beijing are currently at an impasse.
“With a major tariff increase already announced and the possibility that tariffs could be imposed on nearly all goods and inputs from China, retailers are continuing to stock up while they can to protect their customers as much as possible against the price increases that will follow,” National Retail Federation Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said.
The hike to 25% followed a breakdown in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China last month with the Trump administration accused China of attempting to walk back concessions it had earlier made. Beijing has denied it ever made the concessions in the first place.
In addition to hiking the tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods to 25%, the White House has moved to slap tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of goods, effectively putting all imports from China under the same rate.
Prospects for a restart to the trade talks are shaky. Trump has said repeatedly that he believes that China wants a deal but Beijing has stepped up its rhetoric critical of the Trump administration in recent days. Trump is set to met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Japan on June 28 during the G-20 summit, a regular meeting of the leaders from the world’s largest economies. Trump has said he make a decision on the additional aariffs after that meeting.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office could not be reached for comment.