In a development that underscores the measure of effectiveness of U.S sanctions on China’s economy, a Chinese newspaper the Global Times has reported citing sources with direct knowledge of the trade talks that Beijing’s top priority in the phase one trade deal is to remove existing U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.
“Sources with direct knowledge of the trade talks told the Global Times on Saturday that the U.S. must remove existing tariffs, not planned tariffs, as part of the deal,” reads the report.
The Global Times is the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party.
U.S. officials have used tariffs, one of the tools in their war chest, very effectively in the ongoing trade war.
Officials with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the U.S. Treasury Department did not respond to requests for comments.
On December 15, the United States is likely to impose additional 15% tariffs on Chinese goods worth around $156 billion. It is widely expected that Trump is likely to not resort to applying these tariffs if a trade deal can be struck.
With U.S. tariffs taking a toll on China’s economy, Beijing is pressing for rollbacks of previous tariffs.
Last week, on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump had said Washington was in the “final throes” of a trade agreement with China; this was followed by a statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a few days later, wherein he expressed his desire for a trade agreement.
According to trade experts, the signing of a phase one trade deal is unlikely to take place until 2020.
Last Tuesday, U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had stated, Beijing had invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for in-person talks in Beijing.
Lighthizer and Mnuchin were willing to go if they saw “a real chance of getting a final agreement” said Grassley.