President Trump plans to announce new tariffs of about $200 billion on Chinese imports, according to people familiar with the matter, even as his aides prepare for a high-level meeting with Chinese officials to try to quell trade tensions.
The tariff level will likely be set at about 10%, these people said, well below the 25% announced when the administration first said earlier this year it was considering this round of tariffs.
The expected reduction is intended to lower the impact on American consumers heading into the year-end holiday shopping season and ahead of mid-term elections, as the Republican Party tries to keep control of Congress. Mr. Trump is expected to hold open the option of raising the tariffs again to further ratchet up pressure on Beijing.
Administration officials have also scheduled meetings in Washington between a U.S. team led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, in an effort to try and curb trade tensions.
The Chinese have been hoping that any final decision on the new round of tariffs would be delayed until after the next round of high-level meetings. It wasn't immediately clear whether Mr. Liu's visit will proceed once the new round of tariffs are made public.
The people briefed on the tariff plan stressed that final details were still being honed over the weekend, and that some elements could change. As of Saturday afternoon, they were expecting a formal announcement Monday or Tuesday.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters declined to comment on any details, but referred to a statement she put out Friday saying: "The president has been clear that he and his administration will continue to take action to address China's unfair trade practices. We encourage China to address the long standing concerns raised by the Unites States."