US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has shed light on the reasons behind the planned increase in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25%. According to him, China had begun to backtrack on its commitments, which were supposed to serve as a basis for a future new trade deal, ONA reports citing Sputniknews.
"Over the course of the last week or so we have seen […] an erosion in commitments by China. That in our view is unacceptable. We're not breaking off talks at this point. But for now […] come Friday there will be tariffs in place", he said.
His words were echoed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who indicated that Beijing was backtracking on the "language [of the deal] that had been previously negotiated", which could alter a future trade deal "dramatically". He also added that the tariff rise could be averted if China changes its stance by 10 May, when the move will be implemented.
Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the talks, that the change in language was tied to Beijing's desire to implement changes to its economy, granting the US greater access to its markets, by means of administrative and regulatory actions instead of legislation, as had earlier been negotiated. According to the source, without codifying the changes into law, it would be hard to verify whether China was complying with the deal.