WASHINGTON — The White House is expected on Friday to release a final list of Chinese goods that it plans to subject to tariffs and could soon begin putting some of those levies into effect, potentially reigniting a trade war that had been on the back burner while President Trump engaged in delicate nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.
The Trump administration has vacillated between threatening tariffs on China and putting the trade war “on hold” as it tries to negotiate a deal with Beijing that would give American companies greater access to the Chinese market. Those negotiations have produced little in the way of a firm commitment, however, with China offering to purchase nearly $70 billion in energy, agricultural and manufactured products from the United States, but only if the White House suspends tariffs on Chinese products.
So far, the White House has given no indication that it plans to back away from its threat of tariffs, which President Trump and his advisers see as giving the United States leverage in negotiations with Beijing. But while the administration is expected to detail on Friday the final list of goods that it plans to subject to the tariffs, it may phase those in to allow for continuing discussions, according to people familiar with the administration’s plans.
In early April, the Trump administration outlined a preliminary list of roughly $50 billion in Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs — including televisions, medical devices, aircraft parts and batteries. It has since refined the list based on feedback from business owners, trade groups and other industry representatives, who testified at public hearings in Washington in mid-May.
Still, any plan to impose tariffs — even on just a subset of Chinese products — could restart a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. China has threatened its own retaliatory tariffs on American goods, including soybeans, pork and steel. Mr. Trump responded by saying his administration would consider levies on another $100 billion in Chinese products, though that list has not been finalized or released publicly.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday that the president’s trade team had met to discuss the China tariffs, but she would not confirm when the list would be released or when the tariffs would go into effect. The White House has previously said that its levies will go into effect shortly after a list of