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10 November 2019
ECONOMY

Trump casts doubt on trade deal with pushback on tariff rollback

China is seeking the rollback of US tariffs on as much as $360 billion of Chinese imports before President Xi Jinping agrees to go to the US to sign a partial trade deal with President Donald Trump.

BLOOMBERG/ANDREW HARRER


President Donald Trump said that the US has not agreed to roll back all tariffs on China, diluting hopes the US would make such a concession to secure a trade deal, reported Bloomberg.

“They’d like to have a rollback, I have not agreed to anything, China would like to get somewhat of a rollback—not a complete rollback, because they know I will not do it,” said Trump.

US bonds rallied and stocks slipped after the president’s remarks reduced some of the optimism that had been increasing around the prospects for a truce.

Gao Feng, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman, said, “Negotiators had discussions and agreed to remove the additional tariffs in phases as progress is made on the agreement.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also said that if there is a phase one trade deal, there are going to be tariff agreements and concessions.

Trump made clear that the US has not yet reached an agreement and emphasised that he would not eliminate all tariffs. There is an expectation that tariffs scheduled for 15 December 2019, which would hit popular consumer items like smartphones and toys, will not take effect as part of an initial deal. But a lot of tariffs remain in place including a 15 per cent tariff on an additional $110 billion in goods that took effect 1 September 2019.

China’s exports and imports continued to contract in October 2019, though slightly less than forecast by economists.

The escalating trade war between the two countries has also taken a toll on US manufacturing and business investment.

Trump also revived questions about the location for signing any deal with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Reports earlier this week indicated any finalisation of a first-phase agreement might slip until December 2019 and that some US locations had been ruled out.

“Assuming we get it, I do not like to talk about things until they happen, but it could be Iowa or farm country or someplace like that, it will be in our country, but it could be someplace like that,” said Trump.


RELATED STORIES: US-CHINA TRADE TENSION PRESIDENT XI JINPING US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP


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