Trump Administration officials say they may wait until June before imposing new tariffs on goods made in China.
President Trump announced the tariffs in retaliation for what he calls China’s unfair trade practices, including the alleged theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property.
The delay in imposing tariffs gives the Administration time to negotiate revisions with China and head-off what many Trump critics fear could become a trade war.
Those critics include one of the chief economic advisors during the Clinton and Obama Administrations.
He says a potential trade was with China depends on the negotiating tactics used by the Trump Administration.
“If it’s all threats and something is worked out I doubt there’ll be any serious consequences,” Summers says. “If we impose tariffs and then China responds and then we respond, you get a cycle of escalation (and) I think the consequences could be quite serious.”
Summers says a trade war with China would mean higher prices for consumers, less real income for workers and fewer new investments by business owners.
He adds that, in his view, Trump’s proposed steel tariffs could backfire, raising prices and costing jobs for manufacturers in Michigan and elsewhere.