Trump trade adviser pushes back on reports of US-China tariff deal

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro denied reports Thursday that China and the U.S. have agreed to roll back tariffs as the first part of a trade deal between the two countries. 

“There is no agreement at this time to remove any of the existing tariffs as a condition of the phase one deal,” Navarro said during an interview on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” “And the only person who can make that decision is President Donald J. Trump and it’s as simple as that.”

Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Chinese commerce ministry, reportedly told reporters that both countries are planning to cancel the tariffs implemented as part of the long-running trade war between the two nations in phases, Reuters reported. The U.S. and China are negotiating the terms of a “Phase One” trade agreement. 

“If the two sides achieve a ‘Phase One’ agreement, then based on the content of that agreement, tariffs already increased should be canceled at the same time and by the same rate,” the Chinese official told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

“The trade war started with tariffs, and should end with the cancellation of tariffs,” he continued.

But Navarro denied that Chinese and American trade negotiators reached a deal to roll back tariffs Thursday, criticizing Chinese media for its reports.  

“I heard someone joke today that negotiations with the Chinese don’t really begin until you have a handshake deal, and I think that’s maybe what’s going on here. The spectacle of the Chinese propaganda press putting out information like that — they’re just negotiating in public trying to push us in a direction. The president makes these decisions,” Navarro said.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Bloomberg on Thursday that “If there’s a Phase One trade deal, there are going to be tariff agreements and concessions.”

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has said Phase One of an agreement between the U.S. and China would be agreed upon this month, before the U.S. has another round of 15 percent tariffs covering about $160 billion in Chinese imports set for Dec. 15.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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