Beijing’s top priority in phase one of the trade deal with the US is to roll back tariffs on Chinese imports amid doubts of actualizing phase one of the deal in the 17-month trade war.
“Sources with direct knowledge of the trade talks told the Global Times on Saturday that the US must remove existing tariffs, not planned tariffs, as part of the deal,” the report said.
The Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper Global Times also cited unidentified sources who said that US officials were refusing the demand. It was told that the tariffs were their only edge in the trade war and foregoing it meant “surrender.”
US is about to impose an additional tariff of 15% on $156 billion Chinese goods on Dec. 15. It is anticipated that the phase one deal will avoid the implementation of those tariffs, however China was pressing for a removal of the existing tariffs.
President Trump said Washington was in the “final throes” of a deal that will end the trade war, only a few days after President Xi expressed that he wanted to finally come to an agreement. Both parties’ top trade negotiators spoke and agreed to work further on the issues the deal faced.
Trade experts and sources close to the talks had reported that phase one of the trade deal may not come until the new year due to China pressing for a rollback in the tariffs. Initially, an agreement was expected to be finalized in November.
Chairman Chuck Grassley of the US Senate Fianance Committee said that China extended an invite to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for personal talks in Beijing.
Lighthizer and Mnuchin were willing to accept the invite if they saw that there was actually a chance of a final agreement, Grassley said.