Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reaffirmed Tuesday that if China cannot make a deal with the U.S. at a Mar-a-Lago summit between their presidents, then tariff increases on China will resume.
Ross praised U.S. economic successes under the Trump administration as he spoke to members of the National Governors Association and Chamber of Commerce at a summit in D.C.
“Now — more than ever before — America is open for business,” said Ross. “For those companies that are producing products in the United States, we are diligently working at creating a level playing field and a system of reciprocal trade that will enable you to sell more products everywhere in the world.”
The secretary promoted “a virtuous cycle of economic growth” in the U.S. economy. He cited nearly half a million new manufacturing jobs since President Donald Trump took office, the highest in more than two decades.
“Optimism among U.S. manufacturers — as measured by the National Association of Manufacturers — has never been higher, reaching a record 92.4 percent in 2018,” he said before highlighting a GDP growth rate some predicted could not happen just a few years ago.
The secretary went on listing economic accomplishments under the Trump administration as well as the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) to replace NAFTA and high hopes for and progress in negotiations with China toward a trade agreement.
“Our negotiations with China have already addressed many of the outstanding issues we face with them. So, President Trump is willing to extend a bit the deadline on tariffs to see whether we can achieve an enforceable agreement in an ultimate session at Mar-a-Lago,” said Ross.
He added that if they do not forge an agreement at such a Trump-Xi summit then the U.S. “will go forward with the original plan to raise tariffs on $200 billion of imports from 10 percent to 25 percent. And, meanwhile, the 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese imports will remain in place.”