Trump Says Mexico Tariffs Worked, Emboldening Trade Fight With China – The New York Times

Some said Mr. Trump’s threats toward Mexico, a close American ally, could send a message that trade wars are winnable and that the president will not back down against China.

“It’s obvious that on a long-term perspective, President Trump is willing to effectively weaponize tariffs,” said Wen Lu, a rates strategist at TD Securities. “I think he’s almost using this as a political message to reinforce his stance against China.”

The president’s fondness for levies has already propelled the United States into the top echelons of tariff-wielding countries. The United States now has an overall tariff level that is more than twice as high as Canada, Britain, Italy and Germany, and even higher than emerging markets like Russia and Turkey, according to research by Torsten Slok, a chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities.

Progress toward a trade agreement with China has stalled since early last month, and Mr. Mnuchin said over the weekend that no further talks were scheduled. The next significant meeting is expected to take place between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi in late June.

In the meantime, the United States continues to prepare for the next round of Chinese tariffs. The United States trade representative will hold a hearing on June 17 to allow companies to testify about the effects of the next $300 billion worth of levies on their businesses. That round of tariffs would hit a wide range of consumer goods, including sneakers, televisions and cribs.

Mr. Trump has also indicated he sees the fate of Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that has been blacklisted from buying American technology, as a point of leverage in the trade talks.

The administration announced a ban on Huawei’s access to American components on May 15, citing security concerns. The executive order blacklisting Huawei had actually been prepared for months, but officials held off issuing it while trade talks continued. When negotiations with the Chinese broke down at the beginning of May, a consensus emerged among top Trump administration officials to proceed with adding the company to an “entity list,” according to people familiar with the matter, who declined to be named to discuss private deliberations.

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