WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Friday trade talks with China were going “extremely well,” and he said he might extend a key March 1 deadline for increasing tariffs if a deal is near.
A high-level delegation completed two days of talks in Beijing on Friday as they try to avert a sharp rise in tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods after March 1.
“It is going extremely well,” Trump said at the White House. But he seemed uncertain about the outcome. “Who knows what that means because it only matters if we get it done.”
He confirmed his comments earlier this week that he might be willing to hold off on increasing tariffs to 25 percent from the current 10 percent, if Washington and Beijing are close to finalizing an agreement to deal with US complaints about unfair trade and theft of American technology.
“There is a possibility that I will extend the date,” he told reporters. “If I see we’re close to a deal or the deal is going in the right direction, I would do that.”
After progress in the talks in Beijing another round of negotiations is scheduled for next week in Washington.
Trump said he likes tariffs which are bringing “many billions of dollars pouring into our Treasury,” but continues to state that China is paying the duties, when in fact they are paid by US companies and ultimately by American consumers in the form of higher prices.
“The tariffs are hurting China very badly. They don’t want them and frankly if we can make the deal it would be my honor to remove them.”—AFP