So far they have not done what they said.
About US$250 billion of Chinese goods have already been hit by 25 per cent duties. Analysts noted that most of the items on the December list are high-volume products like electronics that comprise the bulk of America's trade with China. A study by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Columbia University, and Princeton University found that the burden of Trump's tariffs - including taxes on steel, aluminum, solar panels falls entirely on United States consumers and businesses who buy imported products.
In the press release the USTR said it will specify which items are affected by the delay.
Trump went on to say the US has collected close to $59 billion in tariffs thus far from China, which he called "amazing".
Separately, China's Ministry of Commerce reported that top Chinese negotiators had spoken by phone with their US counterparts, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and planned to talk again in two weeks.
It's unclear if the Chinese tariff expansions will end up causing video game consoles to increase in price, but USA shoppers can at least take solace in knowing that they won't be negatively impacted by that this holiday season. Another conference call is planned again in two weeks.
And make no mistake, an escalating conflict would badly damage the economy, even if Trump occasionally tweets his view that his tariff policy is somehow boosting growth. Those items will be subjected to the tariffs starting December 15.
The delay seemed timed to cushion the impact of tariffs on consumer goods until after the holidays.
Trade tensions ramped up between the two countries earlier this month after Trump threatened to impose tariffs of 10 percent on $300 billion in Chinese goods. USA importers can apply for tariff exemptions.
Still, the president's heavy rhetoric and abrupt announcements of tariffs as a tactic to pressure the Chinese have shaken financial markets and created a lot of uncertainty among US businesses and for the global economy. "Rebalancing our trade partnership with China is of critical importance, but taxing USA companies, US consumers and the US economy is not the way to achieve that goal". A Bloomberg News August survey of economists gave a 35 per cent probability of a recession in the next 12 months, up from 31 per cent previously. Apparently, the Trump administration was listening.
Yields on the benchmark US 10-year Treasury notes hit session highs, while those on 30-year Treasury bonds rallied from more than three-year lows.