Sources close to the White House tell Bloomberg that President Donald Trump backed off imposing billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods because of discord within the administration.
There’s also concern within the White House over the possibility of harming negotiations with North Korea. Trump also reportedly succumbed to pressure from farm-state Republicans, who heavily lobbied the administration to settle its differences with China, which had threatened to levy its own tariffs on American agricultural imports.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said over the weekend that the administration’s plan to impose tariffs on Chinese goods has been suspended. However, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon told Bloomberg the deal was “capitulation.” Some White House officials say the retreat on tariffs is a result of discord on Trump’s economic team.
Bloomberg says divisions are raw between free trade supporters like Mnuchin and White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow and the China hawks led by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Mnuchin and Navarro were said to have argued over China policy during a trip to Beijing earlier this month, and Navarro wasn’t as deeply involved during negotiations last week with a Chinese delegation that made a trip to Washington, D.C.