US to maintain tariffs on Chinese goods until Phase 2 deal
WASHINGTON, Jan 15: The United States will maintain tariffs on Chinese goods until the completion of a second phase of a US-China trade agreement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday, a day before the two sides are to sign an interim deal.
Mnuchin told reporters that President Donald Trump could consider easing tariffs if the world's two largest economies move quickly to seal a follow-up agreement.
"If the president gets a Phase 2 in place quickly, he'll consider releasing tariffs as part of Phase 2," Mnuchin said.
Trump is slated to sign the Phase 1 trade agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. (1630 GMT). The signing occurs a week before the US Senate is due to begin its impeachment trial of the US president.
Trump became only the third US president to be impeached when the House last month approved charges that he abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation into Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden and obstructed Congress.
Concerns about the trade deal weighed on US stocks on Tuesday, sending shares lower after a Bloomberg report suggested US tariffs could remain in place until after the November presidential election.
New data showed that the costs of Trump's trade wars were proving more widespread, deeper and longer-lasting here to American manufacturing competitiveness and jobs than previously believed.
Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said earlier there was no agreement in place with China on further tariff reductions.
In a joint statement, they said all aspects of the Phase 1 trade deal with China would be made public on Wednesday, except a confidential annex that will detail US products and services to be purchased by China. -Reuters