WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that the United States may leave tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period” to ensure that Beijing complies with any trade agreement. The stance could complicate US-China trade talks set to resume next week, as Chinese officials have been pressing for a full lifting of US tariffs as part of any deal, people familiar with the talks have said.
Trump said his top negotiators, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, would leave for Beijing this weekend, confirming plans for talks next week disclosed on Tuesday by an administration official.
The face-to-face talks will be the first since Trump delayed a March 1 deadline to avert a rise in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent.
“The deal is coming along nicely,” Trump said to reporters at the White House, adding that the China trip was intended “to further the deal.”
But when asked about lifting US tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump said: “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, China lives by it.”
Trump did not elaborate on his plans for the tariffs. His negotiators have demanded that China agree to an enforcement mechanism to ensure that Beijing follows through on any reform pledges in any deal. — Reuters