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China demands reduction in US tariffs ahead of trade deal

China is reportedly demanding a reduction in U.S. tariffs ahead of the “phase one” trade deal between the two countries.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters that Beijing and Washington remain in “close communication,” but he did not have additional information, according to multiple reports

“The Chinese side believes that if the two sides reach a phase one deal, tariffs should be lowered accordingly,” Gao said, Reuters reported

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U.S. leaders, however, are hesitant to remove tariffs because the initial deal does not plan to address intellectual property and technology transfer problems, and they still want leverage in those negotiations, a person briefed on the matter told the news service last month.

More tariffs on $156 million of Chinese products, including smartphones and toys, are reportedly scheduled for Dec. 15. The U.S. has already imposed 15 percent tariffs on $125 billion on Sept. 1 and another 25 percent of tariffs on $250 billion of industrial and consumer goods.

The first phase of the trade deal was expected in November, but debates over the Hong Kong protests and the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China are “core issues of concern,” according to Reuters. 

A source who advises China in the negotiations told the news service Wednesday that there “is no need to panic.” 

“Both leaders have talked about reaching a deal, and officials are now finishing the work,” the source said.

Trump on Tuesday warned the negotiations could go until after the 2020 election, but on Wednesday said talks were going “very well.”

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