Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative and lead negotiator in trade discussions with China, has reiterated that the United States will go ahead with planned hikes in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports unless real progress is made before a 90-day deadline to strike a cease fire deal on the trade war, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The US was due to raise tariffs on $200 billion of goods from 10% to 25% on January 1, but the change has been pushed back as the American and Chinese governments seek to find a deal that can avoid a further escalation in the trade war.
“If there’s a deal to be done, we’ll make it. The president wants us to make a deal,” Lighthizer told CBS on Sunday. “It has to be verifiable, it has to be monitored, it can’t be just vague promises like we’ve seen over the last 25 years… As far as I’m considered, it’s a hard deadline.”
Details of a likely deal have slowly emerged over the past few days. It appears to mainly involve China pledging to ramp up purchases of US goods in a bid to reduce its trade surplus. Other possible measures include removing the 40% tariffs on US autos, although this has not been confirmed, and pledges to strengthen intellectual property protections for firms operating in China.