The Latest: Chinese envoy says trade talks didn’t break down

The Latest on the tariffs standoff between the United States and China (all times local):

6:40 a.m.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He says trade talks with the United States have not broken down.

Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV on Saturday showed Liu telling reporters that the failure to reach an agreement in the tariffs war with Washington was “just a small setback.”

Liu said he was cautiously optimistic. Liu spoke to reporters before leaving Washington for Beijing after the talks ended with China insisting a deal requires that tariffs on its exports be lifted first.

Liu also said the two sides were disagreeing over the amount of goods China would pledge to purchase from the U.S. to help reduce the American trade deficit.

6:50 p.m.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says his office is preparing to impose tariffs on the $300 billion in Chinese products that aren’t already facing import taxes, another escalation in Washington’s dispute with Beijing.

The U.S. just after midnight Friday raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%. Hours later, an 11th round of U.S.-China talks ended without an agreement.

The tax hike brings to $250 billion the value of Chinese imports facing 25% tariffs. But about $300 billion in Chinese imports haven’t yet been hit in a yearlong dispute over China’s push to challenge American technological dominance, allegedly by stealing technology and forcing U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets.

Lighthizer’s office will have to get public comment before it can go ahead with the new tariffs.


4:45 p.m.

The Association of Global Automakers warns that the Trump administration’s decision to increase tariffs on Chinese imports will hurt exports of American-made vehicles.

The association represents the U.S. operations of international automakers, including Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and Subaru.

The group said new U.S. vehicle exports to China fell from 262,500 in 2017 to 164,000 in 2018 in large part because of a 25% retaliatory tariff China imposed on U.S. vehicles from July to December 2018.

China is the second-largest vehicle export market for the U.S.

Don Stewart, executive vice president of public affairs for the association, said exports will further fall when China inevitably retaliates for the Trump administration’s latest tariff increases.

“The real-world impact is fewer cars made in American will be shipped overseas, and that has an effect on auto workers,” Stewart said.

He says that the auto industry “shares the goals of the negotiations to make much needed changes on the way China does business, but there are other tools to get that done that will not impact American auto workers.”


3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States and China “held candid and constructive conversations” on trade after negotiators completed two days of talks Friday without reaching a deal.

Trump tweets that “the relationship between President Xi and myself remains a very strong one, and conversations into the future will continue.”

Trump says that in the meantime, the United States has imposed tariffs on China, “which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!”

The Trump administration raised import taxes on billions of dollars in Chinese goods from 10% to 25% Friday. China has threatened to retaliate.


3:00 p.m.

A White House official confirms that trade talks between Chinese and U.S. negotiators have concluded for the day.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The official did not know when talks would resume.

The Trump administration raised import taxes on billions of dollars in Chinese goods from 10% to 25% Friday. China has threatened to retaliate.

The increase went ahead even after American and Chinese negotiators began more talks aimed at ending a dispute that has disrupted billions of dollars in trade and shaken global financial markets.

This week’s talks marked the 11th round of negotiations so far.

—By Kevin Freking


2:30 p.m.

Gale Pence, the CEO of two manufacturing companies in Wisconsin, says he “cautiously supports the president on the overall picture of this” and is optimistic the U.S. and China will eventually come to a trade agreement.

“I think it’s an advantage for both countries to have protections on IT, and I also think it’s a positive for the U.S. to have more direct investment in China,” he says.

Pence’s businesses have been impacted by tariffs on Chinese imports because his companies buy tooling, molds and dyes, and castings for a variety of different products they produce. They’ve absorbed some of the costs, but they’ve also had to pass along price increases to customers.

Pence’s companies are Global Precision Industries, Inc., which makes plastic injection molds and custom mold bases, among other things. His other company, Diversified Design and Manufacturing, supplies tooling, manufacturing and specialty machining to customers worldwide.


2:00 p.m.

A tech industry group says tariffs are taxes, and “higher tariffs are only higher taxes,” in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25%.

The Consumer Technology Association, which runs the annual CES gadget show and represents the U.S. consumer technology industry, says that the tariffs are not paid by China. Rather, the CTA says they are paid for by “U.S. consumers, workers and businesses.”

The CTA says the U.S. tech industry has paid over $745 million extra for 5G-related products in less than a year under the tariffs.


1:45 p.m.

Randy Richards, a 65-year-old farmer near Hope, North Dakota, says the tariff war of the past year and a half has hit hard, and he was angry that more may be coming.

Richards says he farms more than 6,000 acres of wheat, barley, soybeans, pinto beans and corn. He says tariffs have driven up the cost of the raw products he needs to run and supply his business and driven down the prices of what he has to sell.

“We’re told be patient, it’s going to change, it’s going to resolve and be fixed,” Richards says. “This is the administration imposing a downturn in the farming economy simply because of the way they’re handling trade agreements.”

Richards, who described himself as a conservative Democrat, says he understood that sometimes trade agreements need to be updated “but this isn’t the way to do it.”


1:00 p.m.

The president of the Virginia-based Outdoor Power Equipment Institute says the new tariffs on Chinese imports will adversely impact the 100 manufacturing companies it represents in the U.S., and consumers are going to pay more as a result.

“We’re very disappointed. We don’t think this is an appropriate methodology,” says Kris Kiser, the president and CEO of OPEI.

The organization represents companies that manufacture products such as utility vehicles, mowers, generators and chainsaws. Kiser says some of the parts for those products will be impacted because they’re imported from China. He worries competitors in other countries will have a competitive advantage now.

“This tariff designed to protect the U.S. manufacturers actually penalize a U.S. manufacturer in favor of a competitor,” Kiser says.

Already, Kiser says his organization is aware of manufacturing shifts where some companies have moved to other countries where they have facilities so they can avoid tariffs.

“But not everybody can do that. Not everybody has multiple manufacturing facilities,” he says.

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