US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has denied a Financial Times report claiming that he told a group of executives that the administration plans to put further China tariffs on hold, CNBC reports.
Shares in Caterpillar, the machinery firm with large exposure in China, jumped more than 4% following the FT story, but later the same day Lighthizer’s office issued a firm denial.
“Ambassador Lighthizer has made no representations to industry executives that future Section 301 tariffs are on hold,” a USTR representative told CNBC. “Any reports to the contrary are incorrect.”
The US and Chinese governments are in contact ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month.
There has been speculation that the two will reach some kind of deal to prevent a further escalation of the tariff war, but that deal is unlikely to resolve the larger issues in the relationship, such as US concerns over China’s economic model and industrial strategy.
The FT pointed out in its story that if such a deal were struck, it would closely resemble the tactics Trump used in trade negotiations with the European Union and the nuclear talks with North Korea.