US President Donald Trump has warned that he might keep imposing heavy tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period” to make sure that China will comply with any possible trade agreement resulting from ongoing mutual talks.
Speaking to the reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Trump said his top negotiators, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were headed to Beijing this week to continue the negotiations.
“The deal is coming along nicely,” Trump said, adding that the China trip was intended “to further the deal.”
This could further complicate the talks as unnamed sources have told Reuters that Chinese officials would only agree to a deal when the US fully lifts tariffs imposed on its imports.
In December last year, the American president imposed a March 1 deadline on Beijing, saying that if the deadline expired without enough concessions from China for a comprehensive trade deal, the US tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports might increase from 10 percent to 25.
The face-to-face talks between Chinese and American negotiators will be the first since Trump postponed the deadline in February.
However, Trump insisted that he would keep the tariffs in place until China provides guarantees that it would abide by an agreement.
“We’re not talking about removing them. We’re talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal, China lives by it,” he said.