Trump threatens to raise China tariffs if deal isn't reached
- President Donald Trump on Tuesday doubled down on threats to increase tariffs against China.
- The comment cast further uncertainty on the fate of an interim trade agreement announced in October.
- By covering more consumer products, any further tariff increases would hit households harder than in previous rounds.
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President Donald Trump on Tuesday doubled down on threats to increase tariffs against China, casting further uncertainty on the fate of an interim trade agreement announced in October.
"If we don't make a deal with China, I'll just raise the tariffs even higher," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting.
The two sides have continued to hammer out the details of the first part of a deal intended to defuse a dispute that has led to punitive tariffs on thousands of products over the past year. The White House said last month that included unspecified concessions from China on technology rules, farm purchases and financial sector access.
"There are talks on a daily basis between both sides," said a spokesperson at the Office of the US Trade Representative.
But the state of negotiations has become increasingly uncertain in recent weeks. Early this month, Trump denied a claim from China that the US had agreed to lift some tariffs on Chinese products as part of a broader detente.
"They'd like to have a rollback," he said, even after administration officials appeared to indicate that move was under consideration. "I haven't agreed to anything."White House officials have since said the president was not ready to sign any deal with China, which had initially been expected to happen at a now-cancelled international conference in Chile this month.
In addition to tariffs, which the US has sought to keep in place as a way to enforce trade commitments, negotiators have also clashed over import quotas. Trump has said China agreed to purchase up to $50 billion worth of agricultural products, more than twice what that country consumed from the US in 2017.
The Trump administration is still scheduled to increase tariffs on December 15, a move that would hit virtually all imports from China and have more pronounced effects on households than in previous rounds.