__The Big News: Trade Talks Continuing in Washington D.C. __
Vice Premier Liu, China’s chief trade negotiator, will be one of the officials meeting for trade talks with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington D.C. this week. Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, and China’s central bank governor have also been confirmed to attend.
Reports say that the two nations are not close to reaching an agreement, however, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated last week that the U.S. is still “miles and miles” from a trade deal with China.
__In Other News: __
No third tranche exclusions: There are no plans to allow importers to request exemptions for the third tranche of 10% additional tariffs on $200B worth of goods. Exclusion processes have been laid out for the first two tranches, with some exclusions already granted on the first tranche. In a letter to Tim Kaine, Robert Lighthizer said that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) would lay out a process for importers to file for exclusions if there was no agreement made with China by March 2nd, 2019, when the third tranche of tariffs is set to increase from 10% to 25%.
Good and bad news for aluminum industry: U.S. companies who turn scrap aluminum into fresh aluminum are enjoying a boom in business because of the tariffs on steel and aluminum implemented last year. The tariffs drove metal imports down and domestic production up, with most of the production increase coming from these recycled metal companies.
That said, the steel and aluminum tariffs aren’t proving to be so beneficial for other domestic steel producers because the higher prices make their product less competitive with other nations’ lower cost steel. Automakers are reporting financial losses because of these higher prices, with General Motors announcing that they’ll need to cut 15,000 jobs because of the tariffs’ and government shutdown’s trickle down effect. New car prices are also predicted to rise by an average of $4,400 as a result.