President Donald Trump said on Dec. 12 the United States and the Chinese regime were “very close” to reaching a trade deal, just three days before new U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports are due to kick in.
“Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China,” Trump said on Twitter. “They want it, and so do we.”
Major U.S. stock indexes climbed after the tweet, which came ahead of an expected meeting between Trump and his top trade advisors on Thursday to discuss whether to delay the imposition of the next round of tariffs. Duties of 15 percent on about $156 billion of Chinese consumer goods, including cell phones, clothes, laptops, and toys are due to take effect on Dec. 15.
The two countries announced a “phase one” trade agreement in October, which is expected to include increased Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products and possible tariff reductions. But thus far, there have been no clear indications on the timing of the deal.
Earlier on Thursday, the Chinese regime’s commerce ministry said the trade negotiations from both sides were “maintaining close communication.”
The Dow Jones reported that U.S. negotiators have offered to reduce existing tariffs on about $360 billion of Chinese goods by up to half, and cancel the duties set to take effect on Sunday. The Trump administration also asked for firm commitments to buy American products, and would reimpose original tariff rates if Beijing does not make good on the pledges, the news wire said.
The 17-month-long trade war was initiated last July after the the United States levied tariffs on Chinese goods in an attempt to compel the regime to address a range of unfair trade practices, including theft of U.S. intellectual property, forced technology transfer, subsidies for domestic industries, and currency manipulation.