Beijing is insisting US tariffs must be rolled back as part of any phase one trade deal with Washington, the Global Times newspaper said yesterday, citing unnamed sources, amid continued uncertainty on whether the two sides can strike a deal.
“A US pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15 cannot replace the rollbacks of tariffs,” the newspaper said in a tweet, referring to an additional round of tariffs on Chinese imports to be implemented in the absence of a trade deal.
The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Washington was in the “final throes” of a deal aimed at defusing a 16-month trade dispute with China, a few days after Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) had expressed his desire for a trade agreement.
Top trade negotiators for both countries also spoke again and agreed to continue working on the remaining issues.
Trade experts and people close to the White House told reporters last month that signing of a phase one agreement might not take place until the new year, as China pressed for more extensive rollbacks of tariffs.
An agreement was initially expected to be completed by the end of last month.
US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley told reporters on Tuesday that Beijing invited US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin for in-person talks in Beijing.
They were willing to go if they saw “a real chance of getting a final agreement,” he said.
A source familiar with the trade talks also said that US officials could travel to China after the long Thanksgiving weekend in the US.
Meanwhile, China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index jumped unexpectedly last month, signaling a recovery in activity amid government support and a stabilizing global economy.
The index rose to 50.2, according to data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday. That is the first reading above 50 since April, indicating an expansion in output.
The non-manufacturing gauge was 54.4, the highest since March.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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