Trump delays tariff increase in China trade war after 'productive talks'

President says he will plan summit with Xi Jinping assuming both sides make additional progress

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 24 February 2019 23:40 GMT
Trump rebukes his own trade chief in awkward televised Oval Office exchange

Donald Trump has said the US will postpone an increase in its tariffs on goods from China as a result of “substantial progress” in trade talks.

He said if additional progress was made he would plan a summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

“I am pleased to report that the US has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues,” the US president tweeted.

He added: “As a result of these very productive talks, I will be delaying the US increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1.

“Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for US & China!”

The delay in tariffs was the clearest sign yet of a breakthrough the two sides have sought since calling a 90-day truce in a trade war last year.

It will likely be cheered by markets as a sign of an end to the dispute that has disrupted commerce worth hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and slowed global economic growth.

US and Chinese negotiators met over the weekend as they sought to resolve a trade war that has rattled financial markets.

Mr Trump had warned he would escalate the tariffs he has imposed on $200bn (£153bn) in Chinese imports, from 10 to 25 per cent, if the two sides failed to reach a deal.

However he had signalled greater flexibility in recent days. On Friday he suggested there was a “good chance” a deal would emerge.

The world’s two biggest economies have been locked in a conflict over US allegations that China steals technology and forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets in an aggressive push to challenge American technological dominance.

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However, Mr Trump was caught on camera disagreeing with his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, over terminology in a proposed trade deal with China.

The dispute took place in front of China’s vice premier, Liu He, who could be heard laughing as the bickering unfolded.

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