Trump quashes hopes of early resolution to US-China trade dispute

US president says reports from Beijing he had agreed to start phasing out tariffs were untrue

Hopes of an early end to the US-China trade war have received a setback after Donald Trump said he had yet to agree to start reducing tariffs on imports from America’s rival.

The US president said that while he was keen on a deal with China, reports from Beijing that he had agreed to start phasing out tariffs were untrue.

In what will be seen as an attempt to extract fresh concessions from Xi Jinping, Trump told reporters there was not a deal in place to reduce any levies on Chinese goods.

The Chinese commerce ministry had boosted optimism that 18 months of intensifying protectionism might be coming to an end when it said the two countries had agreed to cancel the tariffs in phases.

But there was immediate pushback from White House officials, who feel more work needs to be done before the two presidents can meet to sign a deal.

Although tariffs on imported goods are hitting corporate profits and leading to higher prices for US consumers, Trump said he was happy with the current state of affairs.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

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

“We’re getting along very well with China. They want to make a deal … frankly they want to make a deal a lot more than I do. I’m very happy right now, we’re taking in billions of dollars.”

Part of any agreement will be a pledge by China to buy more US agricultural products and Trump said the meeting could be in the farm state of Iowa.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that trade tensions have been a significant factor in the synchronised slowdown in the global economy, and the positive noises from Beijing were seen as a sign that both the US and China were now ready for a deal.


Larry Elliott

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
White House expecting agreement with China 'within next week or so'
Trade adviser Peter Navarro suggests little more than translation of text is needed

Richard Partington Economics correspondent

30, Dec, 2019 @6:11 PM

Article image
US-China trade war: is the time ripe for peace to break out? | Larry Elliott
Beijing talks look to have neatly concluded, just in time for Trump to visit Davos and claim victory

Larry Elliott

10, Jan, 2019 @12:00 AM

Article image
Markets rally as hopes for breakthrough in US-China trade dispute rise
Donald Trump says talks between Washington and Beijing are progressing

Richard Partington

12, Dec, 2018 @7:30 PM

Article image
US and China resume trade talks with both eager for compromise
Asian shares rise as fresh round of negotiations begins amid concerns about a slowdown in the Chinese economy

Lily Kuo in Beijing

07, Jan, 2019 @10:14 AM

Article image
Donald Trump hints at extension to China trade talks
President said potential delay was justified as deal ‘must be the biggest in history’

Phillip Inman

15, Feb, 2019 @6:47 PM

Article image
Markets fall sharply as Donald Trump attacks China over trade talks
US president sends series of tweets and suggests agreement might be delayed

Sean Farrell

30, Jul, 2019 @6:03 PM

Article image
Donald Trump warns China he won't back down on trade tariffs
US president says he expects to move ahead on plans to raise tariffs to 25% from 1 January

Richard Partington

27, Nov, 2018 @7:36 PM

Article image
Could doomsday be nearing as US-China trade war heats up?
Dispute between economic powerhouses is reminiscent of cold war standoff in Cuba

Larry Elliott

10, May, 2019 @5:25 PM

Article image
US-China trade war: all you need to know about Trump's tariffs
The battle between the world’s two largest economies is hotting up – here’s the lowdown

Richard Partington and Jasper Jolly

10, May, 2019 @10:45 AM

Article image
China voices economic fears about Donald Trump presidency
Beijing’s concerns about a further slowdown in trade come as political uncertainty and social tensions spread anxiety about global economy

Katie Allen

13, Jan, 2017 @6:19 PM