The United States could delay fresh customs tariffs, currently set for 15 December, on about 160 billion in Chinese goods, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The financial daily reported, quoting officials from both sides, that US and Chinese negotiators were doing the groundwork to delay the new tariffs.
Washington is trying to obtain, among other things, a firm commitment from Beijing on massive purchases of U.S. farm products.
In the past, U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration had already agreed to delay new customs duties so as to ease the pressure on the negotiators. If, however, the 15% tariff were to take effect, all imports from China would be subject to punitive customs duties.
According to WSJ sources, Chinese and US officials stressed that there was no firm timeline.
President Trump’s main economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said on Friday on CNBC that a trade agreement with China was still close, although he declined to comment on the new wave of punitive U.S. tariffs scheduled to take effect on 15 December. Kudlow said the agreement was “even closer” than the last time he made a statement to that effect in November.
Only last week, Trump had raised doubts by saying there was no deadline for signing an agreement.
The US. President launched a trade war against China in March 2018, accusing Beijing of unfair trade practices. Since then the two countries have traded punitive customs tariffs on billions of dollars of goods.
The ongoing dispute between the world’s two economic giants has weakened global growth by slowing down trade.