Trump says tariffs will stay until China complies with trade deal
The US president dashed hopes that successful negotiations could see a rollback of the duties
President Donald Trump said he will keep tariffs on China until he is sure Beijing is complying with any trade deal, refuting expectations that the two nations will agree to roll back duties as part of a lasting truce to their trade war.
“We’re not talking about removing them, we’re talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time, because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “They’ve had a lot of problems living by certain deals.”
The president’s comments dim hopes that round-the-clock trade negotiations between the world’s two biggest economies could lead to them removing the roughly $360 billion in tariffs they have imposed on each other’s imports. Beijing has pushed the Trump administration to remove tariffs as part of any deal.
US stocks extended declines on Wednesday after the president’s remarks.
US officials are concerned that Beijing is pushing back against some American demands in trade talks, people familiar with the matter said. Chinese officials have shifted their stance because after agreeing to changes to their intellectual-property policies, they have not received assurances from the Trump administration that tariffs imposed on their exports would be lifted, the people said.
Despite his comments on the tariffs, Mr Trump said “the deal is coming along nicely,” adding that top US negotiators leave for China this weekend for talks on an agreement.
“This is just negotiation argy-bargy” as Mr Trump doesn’t want to give his leverage away too early, said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney. “He doesn’t want a bear market in shares and rising unemployment ruining his re-election chances next year. A deal still remains more likely than not as it’s in both sides’ interest.”
One of the remaining sticking points in talks is whether the tariffs would be lifted immediately or over a period of time to allow the US to monitor whether China is meeting its obligations. The US wants to continue to wield the threat of tariffs as leverage to ensure China won’t renege on the deal, and would only lift the duties fully when Beijing implemented all parts of the agreement.
Updated: March 22, 2019 02:49 AM