US President Donald Trump on Friday said the trade negotiations with China were going “extremely well” and again offered the possibility of extending the March 1 deadline for a sharp rise in punitive tariffs.
Senior officials had completed two days of high-stakes talks in Beijing as they try to avert the US threat to more than double tariffs on US$200 billion in Chinese goods, which would be an unwelcome shock to the world’s second-largest economy, as it already has shown signs of slowing.
“It is going extremely well,” Trump said of the talks. “The tariffs are hurting China very badly. They don’t want them and frankly if we can make the deal it would be my honor to remove them,” he told reporters at the White House.
The president confirmed his comments earlier this week that he might be willing to hold off on increasing tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent, if Washington and Beijing are close to finalizing an agreement to deal with US complaints about unfair trade and theft of US technology.
“There is a possibility that I will extend the date,” he told reporters. “If I see we’re close to a deal or the deal is going in the right direction, I would do that.”
After progress in the talks in Beijing, a fourth round of negotiations is scheduled for next week in Washington.
Trump said he likes tariffs that are bringing “many billions of dollars pouring into our Treasury,” but continues to state that China is paying the duties, when they are actually paid by US companies and ultimately by US consumers in the form of higher prices.
Bloomberg News reported that the White House was considering a 60-day deadline extension, but Trump did not offer any particulars.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said of the talks that “the vibe is good,” but there was no decision yet on extending the 90-day tariff truce.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) hailed the “important step-by-step progress,” and said he hoped the two delegations would continue to “work hard” for a “win-win” agreement, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We all believe that China-US relations have broad common interests in safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting global economic prosperity and development,” Xi told the US negotiators.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who led the US delegation, told Xi on Friday that while there was more work to do, they had made progress.
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