Trump delays extra tariffs on China imports, cites progress in talks

26, Feb. 2019

WASHINGTON, Kyodo - U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he has decided to delay the imposition of additional tariffs on Chinese imports, citing the "substantial progress" made in trade talks with Beijing.

Trump said in a Twitter post that he will extend the original deadline for a trade deal with Beijing beyond Friday and will aim to "conclude an agreement" with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a meeting at the U.S. president's Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.

"The U.S. has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency and many other issues," Trump tweeted.

"If all works well, we're going to have some very big news over the next week or two," he said later at the White House.

His remarks came after senior U.S. and Chinese officials continued talks in Washington through Sunday, prolonging the initial schedule of the latest round by two days, to settle a months-long trade war that has raised fears of slower world economic growth.

"We want to make a deal that's great for both countries and that's really what we're going to be doing," Trump said.

In an Oval Office meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday, Trump said he is looking forward to a possible meeting with Xi in March at his Florida estate.

The United States had threatened to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent after the deadline, unless the two countries strike a deal.

Since July last year, the administration of Trump, dissatisfied with what it sees as China's unfair trade practices, has raised tariffs on goods from the world's second-largest economy.

In retaliation, China also increased tariffs on U.S. imports. Tit-for-tat tariffs between the world's two largest economies have increased concerns over the outlook for the global economy.

The United States and China have so far agreed to limit Beijing's ability to manipulate the value of its currency for unfair trade advantage.

China has also pledged to buy an additional 10 million tons of American soybeans as part of an effort to reduce the massive U.S. trade deficit with the Asian country.

But the sides remained well apart in efforts to find potential resolutions to China's structural issues, with the United States accusing Beijing of having insufficient intellectual property protection and giving favorable treatment to state-owned enterprises.

In their summit in Argentina in December, Trump and Xi agreed a truce in which both sides promised to refrain from imposing further tariffs on each other's imports for 90 days while trying to complete talks to end the trade war. (Kyodo)