President Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China's support in his negotiations with North Korea, the AP reports. Trump met Thursday with several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs on at least $35 billion to $40 billion of Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans. The amount of goods could reach $55 billion, says the industry official.
If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing. The decision on the Chinese tariffs comes in the aftermath of Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president has coordinated closely with China on efforts to get Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. But he signaled that whatever the implications, "I have to do what I have to do" to address the trade imbalance. Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. China has targeted $50 billion in US products for potential retaliation.
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