Trump says no ‘magical date’ for US-China trade deal

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on February 20th, 2019

Washington:US President Donald Trump has said he may not increase tariffs on Chinese products on 1 March, as previously threatened. The reversal comes as the two countries continue trade talks in Washington this week, after earlier discussions in China.

The US had said it would impose higher tariffs on Chinese goods if the two sides did not strike a deal by 1 March.

But Mr Trump has appeared more flexible in recent comments.

“I can’t tell you exactly about timing,” he said on Tuesday when asked how likely the US was to impose additional duties on 1 March.

“The date is not a magical date because a lot of things are happening.”

The US has already imposed tariffs on $250bn (£193bn) worth of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.

In December, both countries agreed to halt new tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks.

However, the US had said it would increase tariff rates on $200bn worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% if the two sides did not reach a deal.

Mr Trump has also threatened further tariffs on an additional $267bn worth of Chinese products.

Washington is pressing Beijing to make changes to its economic policies, which it says unfairly favour domestic companies through subsidies and other support.

It has also accused the government of supporting technology theft as part of its broader development strategy, while in China there is a sense that the US is using the trade war to contain the country’s rise.

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