Trump Delays Plan to Hike Tariffs on Chinese Imports

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, accompanied by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, greets the media before trade meetings in Washington on Thursday. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump on Friday announced a tentative partial trade deal with China, putting off impending tariffs hikes set to be snapped in place on $250 billion in Chinese goods next week.

Speaking from the oval office on Friday after meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Trump called the deal “very substantial.” He said the tariff hikes are being delayed after China agreed to buy between $40 and $50 billion in agricultural goods from the United States.

Trump said the deal is “phase one” of a larger deal he hopes to strike with China that will be put together in two or three sections going forward.  Trump said the next phase of negotiations will cover forced technology transfers, among other issues.

“We’ve had a tremendous, really, negotiation, a very complex negotiation, but something that’s going to be great for both countries,” Trump said in the Oval Office late Friday afternoon.

He said in addition to agricultural goods, the deal covers intellectual property and financial services, though he did not get into specifics about those provisions of the agreement. The agreement still needs to be put to paper, a process Trump hopes will be done around the time the countries meet in Chile later this year.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the countries are still finalizing details of how the agreement will be enforced.

Trump had spurred hopes that a deal might be looming in a tweet Friday morning in which he said there were “warmer feelings than in recent past” between the two sides as they met again for extended talks.

The agreement announced Friday is still not finalized and while Trump expressed confidence the two sides will formalize it in the near future, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there is work left to be done.

“We have a fundamental understanding on the key issues, we’ve gone through a significant amount of paper, but there is more work to do,” Mnuchin said. “And we will not sign an agreement unless we get and can tell the president that this is on paper.”

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