Trump Says U.S. Hasn't Yet Agreed to Roll Back Tariffs as Part of China Trade Deal -- Update
By Josh Zumbrun and Andrew Restuccia
WASHINGTON -- President Trump said the U.S. hasn't yet agreed to
a rollback of tariffs, disputing a statement from China's Commerce
Ministry on Thursday that tariff relief would be part of the first
phase of a trade accord between the two nations.
Stocks fell Friday on the president's remarks, which raised
questions about how smoothly negotiations between Washington and
Beijing are proceeding. The two sides have struggled to get on the
"They'd like to have a rollback," Mr. Trump told reporters at
the White House. "I haven't agreed to anything. China would like to
get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback because they
know I won't do it. But 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. I'm very happy. China would like to make a deal much
more than I would."
On Thursday, the Chinese Commerce Ministry had said that China
and the U.S. had agreed that they would begin rolling back tariffs
as part of their deal. But almost immediately after the Chinese
made their announcement, The Wall Street Journal reported that the
Trump administration didn't confirm the Chinese statement, and
there were mixed signals from the administration on whether it was
Senior trade adviser Peter Navarro disputed the extent of the
agreement over tariff removal in an interview Thursday night on Fox
"There is no agreement at this time to remove any of the
existing tariffs as a condition of the phase one deal," Mr. Navarro
said. "The only person who can make that decision is President
Donald J. Trump, and it's as simple as that," he said.
Mr. Trump's remarks Friday confirmed that the president hasn't
made any final agreement to roll back the tariffs.
The U.S. has imposed tariffs on about $360 billion worth of
Chinese imports, in four different tranches. It was never clear
from Thursday's statements how many of these tranches might be
affected, or on what timeline.
The removal of tariffs has been a recurring sticking point in
the negotiations. Beijing has pressed the U.S. to end all the
tariffs, describing that as one of its bottom lines when talks fell
apart earlier this year. Washington has discussed removing tariffs
as part of a compliance mechanism, under which tariffs would come
off gradually if China fulfills its commitments under a trade
Write to Josh Zumbrun at Josh.Zumbrun@wsj.com and Andrew
Restuccia at Andrew.Restuccia@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 08, 2019 11:24 ET (16:24 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.