September 24, 2020

Trump Officials Praise Gains From China Deal, but They Come at a Cost

Robert J. Leo, a lawyer for the American Down and Feather Council, said that levies would remain in effect on down and feathers from China, but not on Chinese-made comforters and pillows.

“That means the Chinese manufacturers can manufacture their products and get them into the country without tariffs,” where American manufacturers that import the goods to make products in the United States will still be charged, Mr. Leo said.

Despite the barriers that remain, Mr. Lighthizer said in the interview that Friday was “probably the most momentous day in trade history ever,” because in addition to announcing the agreement with China, the administration submitted its revised United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Congress for a vote.

The two deals “have been hyped as short-term wins for the U.S. resulting from hard-nosed negotiations by the Trump administration,” said Eswar Prasad, a trade professor at Cornell University. “But the outcomes of these trade deals hardly compensate for the heightened uncertainty resulting from the trade tensions unleashed by the Trump administration on multiple fronts that has hurt business sentiment and contributed to falling investment.”

The North American deal has gained the support of congressional Democrats and appeared to be on track for passage in the House of Representatives as early as this week. But in recent days, Mexico has raised new concerns about the deal’s stronger labor provisions, throwing up a potential stumbling block to its passage.

Jesús Seade, Mexico’s chief negotiator for the pact, flew to Washington for meetings on Sunday after the United States said it would send as many as five labor attachés to Mexico to monitor labor conditions under the deal. Mexico has described the idea as a violation of its sovereignty.

For its part, the Chinese government appeared over the weekend to be keeping up its end of the deal struck on Friday, starting with the cancellation on Sunday of plans to impose further retaliatory tariffs against the United States.

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