The 15 percent tariffs set to hit about $160 billion of Chinese goods this weekend may not happen after all.
The duties were planned Dec. 15 for an array of consumer products such as smartphones, laptops, other electronics and clothes.
“A conversation I had Monday, that I won’t say who it was with, didn’t deal with tariffs, but it would tell me that tariffs will not be imposed on Dec. 15, and we could possibly be close to an agreement with China,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
“I don’t have much more information than that, but it was very much a positive conversation about reaching a phase one agreement with China," the lawmaker said.
Enacting more tariffs is a step business leaders and many lawmakers had hoped to avoid. It would re-escalate a trade war between the world's two biggest economies that has raged for more than 21 months, starting when the U.S. placed duties on steel, aluminum and some appliances.
China's economy has slowed as the tariffs and an increasing debt load have weighed on growth. The country grew at a 6 percent rate in the third quarter, the weakest since recordkeeping began in 1993, and the International Monetary Fund predicts it will wane to 5.8 percent in 2020.
While Beijing has called on the U.S. to roll back tariffs on more than $350 billion of its goods as part of an initial trade deal, President Trump has said that's not something he wants to do.
The U.S. has not been immune to trade-war pain itself. Its third-quarter gross domestic product expanded 2.1 percent, according to a second estimate from the Commerce Department, down from 3.1 percent at the start of the year.
Ramping up the trade war would probably weigh on pockets of the stock market, especially tech shares, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives. He warned in a note sent to clients last week that the tariffs would be a "gut punch” to the tech sector and remain a “lingering hurdle” for those stocks to rally into the end of the year.