China Says Deal Made To Roll Back Tariffs In Phases—Trump Denies Agreement As Trade Talks Continue

Progress towards the first phase of a trade deal between the United States and China is still being made, and in addition to the decision on what tariffs will be cancelled and when, there is also the question of where leaders will meet to sign the deal.

Hope for “phase one” of a trade deal is still in the air. China is now claiming the plan is for each side to gradually remove the same amount of tariffs they have imposed over the last 15 months.

A spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry confirmed that as talks continue, tariffs are set to decrease—but only if progress is made toward a final deal.

“In the past two weeks, the leaders of the two sides have conducted serious and constructive discussions on properly addressing their core concerns, and agreed to a phased cancellation of tariff increases depending on the progress of negotiations.”

He argued that because the trade war was started with the introduction of tariffs, then it should end with the elimination of tariffs.

But earlier this week during an event in Thailand earlier – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross – did not directly say if rolling back tariffs was a possibility in the Phase 1 talks. But he did say any Phase 1 agreement would be general and cover trade in specific areas such as soybeans and liquefied natural gas. And that more complicated issues would be tackled in later rounds of negotiations.

Now we are nearly one month away from the planned rollout of US tariffs on $156 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports, which would specifically target consumer goods including cell phones, laptop computers and toys – during the Christmas holiday season here in the US.

While the original goal was for “phase one” of the deal to be completed by this month, the date and location for it to be signed are still “to be decided.” President Trump was quick to suggest Iowa and Alaska, and locations in Europe and Asia have also been discussed. 

There are also reports London as a prime location because the two leaders could meet after a NATO summit in which Trump is expected to attend on December 3 and 4. But they claim nothing has been decided.

Both countries are under extreme pressure to reach a trade deal. For Beijingit’s still dealing with an economic slowdown – so a deal could turn things around – financially. And as for the U.S. – President  Trump will likely use the trade deal in his 2020 re-election campaign. 

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Rachel Blevins is a journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

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