US Threatens to Punish China With More Tariffs as ‘Hard Deadline’ Looms

Capture of Huawei CFO threatens to derail efforts

With reports that the US and China are getting close to a deal to settle a protracted trade war, the hopes to get everything finalized in 90 days have suddenly become an ultimatum. Now, US officials are warning that the 90 days is a “hard deadline.”

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer warned on Sunday that the deadline is absolute, and that if China doesn’t comply, the 10% tariffs the US is currently imposing will rise to 25%. And while Larry Kudlow says a “lot of good things” are happening, Lighthizer is demanding a total, absolute, and irreversible deal meeting all US demands.

This is a particularly bad time for that deadline, as Canada’s capture of the Huawei CFO at the behest of the US is fueling a lot of anger, and top Chinese officials are warning President Xi not to make any immediate concessions.

US officials say that trade with China, and the sudden detention of a top official at one of China’s top electronics firms are totally unrelated. China clearly doesn’t see it that way, however, and with many of the same issues intertwined in both, some in China see the sudden detention as a sign that the US isn’t looking to make a negotiated deal, but rather to keep issuing demands while acting unilaterally against Chinese companies seen as a threat to US interests.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of