Breaking News

Trump's Import Tax Is Said to Be Off Table Despite His Promises

EconomyFeb 13, 2018 20:09
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Bloomberg. Shipping containers sit on the Thalassa Pistis container vessel docked at the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) Container Terminal Burchardkai in the Port of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany, on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. German exports will increase 5% next year, BGA association forecast in a statement.

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration has no formal proposal on the table for a so-called reciprocal tax on imports, according to a U.S. official who sought to clarify whether a levy that risks escalating tensions with key trading partners would be enacted.

The clarification came Monday after President Donald Trump had said earlier in the day that his administration was planning to enact a levy on imports from other countries at the same rates those countries impose on U.S. products.

“We’re going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax,” Trump said at a White House event on infrastructure. “And you’ll be hearing about that during the week and during the coming months.”

Later in the day, the official said there is no proposal for such a tax in the works and the president was simply reiterating sentiments he has long held.

Trump is scheduled to meet with lawmakers Tuesday to discuss trade issues.

Proposals to tax imports were fiercely debated early last year as the administration explored plans for its tax overhaul.

A House Republican proposal to tax imports, known as the border-adjusted tax, was removed from tax revamp plans after facing intense opposition from import-heavy industries such as retailers, and a cool reception from Senate lawmakers. Ultimately, no such import tax made it into the tax law that passed in December.

While Trump hasn’t elaborated on how his plan for a reciprocal tax would work, he appears to be calling for import tariffs, which are taxes levied on specific goods or countries at varying rates. He has suggested he would increase tariffs on individual countries based on the duties those countries impose on U.S.-made products.

That’s different from the House Republican’s vision for a border-adjusted tax, which would have imposed a single tax rate on U.S. companies’ imports.

In an April interview with Fox Business Network, Trump said “when you say I’m going to charge a 10 percent or a 20 percent border tax, everyone goes crazy, because they like free trade,” Trump said. He added later: “But when you say ‘reciprocal tax,’ nobody can get angry,” adding “You say, ‘OK, whatever you charge, we’re charging.”’

During the White House meeting on Monday, Trump emphasized that his commitment to a reciprocal tax hasn’t waned. Trump asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross whether he too supported the tax, saying “oh, would he be in trouble” if he didn’t. “Could you imagine if he said no,” Trump said to laughter.

Ross followed with a full-throated endorsement of such a measure. “We gave away so much unilaterally that we really have to claw it back” from trading partners, he said.

Trump shifted during the discussion of infrastructure to blast “very unfair” treatment of the U.S. by “so-called allies, but they’re not allies on trade” that charge tariffs on U.S. producers yet benefit from lower U.S. trade barriers to export to America.

“We cannot continue to be taken advantage of by other countries,” Trump said in the White House meeting with state and local officials. “We cannot continue to let people come into our country and rob us blind and charge us tremendous tariffs and taxes and we charge them nothing. We cannot allow that to happen.”

In October, Trump started talking about an economic development bill that would provide incentives for companies to keep jobs in the U.S. It’s unclear what the bill would entail, but during the Forbes interview he referenced the idea again of a reciprocal levy on imports, where the U.S. should charge countries what they charge.

Trump's Import Tax Is Said to Be Off Table Despite His Promises

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email