- President Donald Trump and his advisers say they aren’t yet ready to finalize the terms of a trade agreement with China.
- The terms announced in mid-October have not yet been put to paper. On December 15, tariffs are scheduled to be expanded to far more products.
- The two sides have clashed over whether tariff rollbacks should be included in the first stage of the interim agreement, as well as over rules about the forced transfer of foreign technology.
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A month after the announcement of an interim agreement between the US and China, President Donald Trump and his advisers say they aren’t yet ready to finalize those trade terms on paper.
Negotiators from the two sides were expected to hold a phone call at the end of the week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a Fox Business Network interview Friday. They have made progress, he said, but issues remained.
“The devil is always in the details,” Ross said. “The president hasn’t agreed to remove the tariffs. We’ll see the details as they come through and they’re gonna be good details or else the president won’t go along with it.”
On December 15, tariffs are scheduled to be expanded to far more products.
The two sides have clashed over whether tariff rollbacks should be included in the first stage of the interim agreement, as well as over rules about the forced transfer of foreign technology.
Details on the agricultural purchases announced last month remained particularly unclear, Ross indicated. Trump had said China would buy up to $50 billion worth of US farm products, more than double the amount it imported in 2017.
“The question is are they willing to commit to it, and if they are willing to commit, are there any escape patches to the commitment,” Ross added.
On Thursday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said a deal was near but echoed that Trump was not prepared to sign an agreement.
“He’s not ready to make a commitment, he hasn’t signed off on a commitment for phase one, we have no agreement just yet for phase one,” Kudlow said at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Trump has sought to minimize the effects of the trade dispute with China, which has been widely blamed as a strain on the US economy. On Tuesday, he doubled down on threats to slap more tariffs on the second-largest economy if a deal isn’t reached.