Earlier, the US raised tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods ahead of a second day of trade talks between top Chinese trade negotiator Liu He and US officials in Washington.
Friday’s second day of talks between Liu, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wrapped up before lunchtime, lasting about 90 minutes.
“They were constructive discussions,” Mnuchin said, speaking to reporters outside Lighthizer’s offices, according to CNBC. The secretary confirmed that talks were done for the day.
Liu, meanwhile, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying the talks went “fairly well,” without elaborating.
Sources familiar with the discussions told the business resource that little progress had been made on a trade deal during the two days of talks, with Liu expected to leave Washington later Friday.
Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the Global Times newspaper, tweeted citing an “authoritative source” that the talks “didn’t break down” and that the two sides agreed to meet again in Beijing at some unspecified date in the future.
Ahead of the talks, Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets in which he claimed that the higher tariffs would “bring far more wealth to our Country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind,” adding that it was “much easier and quicker” to impose tariffs than to negotiate a deal.
Trump added that there was “absolutely no need to rush” on removing the tariffs, saying that these “massive payments” from China to the United States went “directly to the Treasury.”
The president also warned that the process had started to place “additional tariffs at 25% on the remaining $325 billion dollars” in Chinese imports, indicating that the US-China trade imbalance worked in Washington’s favour.
The US’ tariff increase stepped into effect at 12:01 am EST, affecting over 5,700 categories of Chinese products, including internet modems, circuit boards, furniture, lighting, car parts, building materials, household appliances, and dozens of other categories of goods.
Earlier Friday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that there was “no greater threat to world growth” than the current ongoing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing, warning that the dispute could spark job losses in France and throughout Europe.
The US and China have been engaged in a trade war since June 2018, when President Trump announced 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Since that time, the two countries have exchanged in several rounds of back and forth tariff hikes. China promised to respond to Friday’s tariffs as well, but has yet to specify how it will do so.