It was a bad day for U.S.-China trade prospects yesterday as President Donald Trump threw a bit of cold water in a New York speech and The Wall Street Journal reported that negotiations have stalled over disagreements on agriculture.
Trump in a speech at the Economic Club of New York threatened again raise tariffs on Chinese goods “very substantially” if a deal isn’t signed. He said he expects a trade agreement “soon” but didn’t give any details.
That furthered uncertainty about when or if a deal would be agreed upon.
A report from The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, indicated that talks are stalled amid disagreements about agriculture.
Trump said last month that China had agreed to purchase $50 billion worth of agricultural products including soybeans and pork, but Beijing doesn’t want to commit to a certain level of purchases, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
At least a “partial” trade deal was announced in the middle of October. Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping were supposed to sign the agreement at the APEC meeting in Chile this month, but it was canceled by host country Chile after protests.
Even if a deal is agreed upon, finding a suitable place to sign it is proving difficult.
Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said today that the U.S. and China are still talking about removing some tariffs they’ve imposed on each other’s goods over the past 16 months, The WSJ reported.
Feng said last week that the sides had agreed to eliminate some tariffs, but Trump indicated he wasn’t yet willing to do that.
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