China and the United States have agreed to roll back tariffs on each other's goods in phases as they work toward a trade deal between the two sides, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng (高峰) said yesterday.
Beijing and Washington have agreed to reduce some punitive tariffs on each other's goods as talks on ending their trade war progress, a Chinese spokesman said Thursday, removing a possible stumbling block to a settlement.
Trump had originally indicated that he could sign a phase 1 deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping at mid-November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile, since canceled.
However, the plan faces stiff internal opposition in the USA administration, Reuters reported on Thursday, and us officials have signaled opposing views on the status of talks.
USA locations for a Trump-Xi meeting that had been proposed by the White House, including Iowa and Alaska, have been ruled out, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Some US tariffs on China are likely to remain in place even in the event of a trade deal, the US has indicated. "I haven't agreed to anything". That's helped lower US economic growth to 1.9% at an annual rate in the July-September quarter from 3.1% in the first three months of this year.
In response to the president's comments, Hu Xijin, the editor of China's nationalist Global Times newspaper, tweeted: "What's certain is that if there's no rollback of tariffs, there will be no phase 1deal".
The proportion of tariffs cancelled for both sides to reach a "phase one" deal must be the same, but the number to be cancelled can be negotiated, he added, without elaborating.
"The trade war started with tariffs, and should end with the cancellation of tariffs", Gao said according to Reuters.
On Thursday, signs were pointing toward a first-phase deal that would include a tariff rollback.
"The spectacle of the Chinese propaganda press putting out information like that, they're just negotiating in public, trying to push us in a direction, but the president makes these decisions", he said.
The US did not issue any public response after China said the two sides had agreed to remove tariffs "simultaneously".
The escalating trade war between the two countries has also taken a toll on US manufacturing and business investment.
If an interim deal is finished and signed, it is widely expected to include a US pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys.
On Thursday, Reuters and Bloomberg reported that a USA trade official had confirmed that some tariffs would be lifted, should a deal be reached.
Trump again said Beijing is eager for a deal because their economy is hurting, although economic data show the conflict has hit USA businesses as well, and the uncertainty over the dispute between the economic powers is undermining global growth.
Analysts said the cut, while modest, may be a sign the central bank is turning more proactive, following a slew of downbeat economic data suggesting more stimulus is needed soon.