The U.S. is willing to postpone new tariffs on Chinese products as a “goodwill gesture” to move trade negotiations to a second or third phase, according to White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
“The reality is what is on the table is there are tariffs coming in December,” Navarro told NPR on Friday morning. The U.S. is scheduled to slap tariffs on about $156 billion of Chinese goods, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys.
“We would be willing, I think, again it’s up to the president, to postpone those tariffs … but not roll back any existing tariffs. There’s the fine distinction here,” he added.
Navarro told FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs on Thursday evening that there was “no agreement” to remove existing tariffs as a condition of a phase one deal.
Chinese Ministry of Finance spokesperson Gao Feng said on Thursday that the U.S. and China agreed to "remove the additional tariffs imposed in phases as progress is made on the agreement."
FOX Business confirmed that U.S. negotiators were pursuing that goal.
The U.S. and China have been engaged in a 16-month trade war that has seen the world’s two economic superpowers slap tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of one another’s goods.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were hoping to sign a phase one deal at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile later this month, but the conference was canceled due to unrest in the country. There is still hope the two sides can find a time to sign a deal.
Navarro says phase one would only accomplish about two of the seven goals done that the U.S. is hoping to achieve in a comprehensive deal.
In an interview last week with FOX Business, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the agriculture piece of the deal was “virtually completed” and that the currency stability portion was almost “wrapped up.”
Trump has suggested a full deal could be completed in two or three phases.
“Just so the American people understand, we are getting hammered by China,” Navarro told NPR.