US trade officials say Trump’s tariff threat is real

The top US trade negotiator said Monday that the Trump administration will be moving forward on President Donald Trump’s threat to escalate tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods effective Friday.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said China reneged on previous agreements over the weekend, derailing months of progress toward a detailed trade agreement between the world’s two largest economies.
As of Friday, penalties on $200 billion of Chinese goods will be lifted to 25% from 10%, as Trump tweeted on Sunday.
“We felt like we were on track to get somewhere,” Lighthizer told reporters. “We tried to accommodate changes in the text, but these are substantial and substantive changes.” He described the changes as “reneging on prior commitments.”
The news comes ahead of a delegation of Chinese negotiators arriving in Washington later this week.