President Donald Trump threatened higher tariffs on Chinese goods if that country does not make a deal on trade.
The comments came during a meeting with the president’s Cabinet on Tuesday. The U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have been locked in an apparent stalemate in trade negotiations that have lasted nearly two years.
“If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher,” Trump said in the meeting.
Financial markets, which have proven reactive to developments in the ongoing trade war, largely shrugged off Trump’s latest warning.
The U.S. and China agreed to a “phase one” trade deal in October, but Beijing and Washington have since sent mixed signals about how the countries will move forward.
A spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry said earlier this month that both countries had agreed to cancel some existing tariffs simultaneously. Trump later said that he had not agreed to scrap the tariffs, lowering hopes for a deal.
“They’d like to have a rollback. I haven’t agreed to anything,” the president said.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Friday that the countries were “getting close” to reaching a trade deal.
On Saturday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The officials had “constructive discussions,” according to China’s Commerce Ministry, and agreed to remain in close contact.
The U.S. has imposed tariffs on about $500 billion in Chinese goods. China has retaliated with tariffs on about $110 billion in American products.
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