President Trump says China wants relief from U.S. tariffs but realizes he won't lift all of them. U.S. equity markets slid in reaction to the news.
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“China would like to make a deal much more than I would," the president told reporters Friday on the White House lawn. "They'd like to have a rollback. I haven't agreed to anything."
Trump’s comments offer new insight into differing assessments from his administration on trade talks with China. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Friday morning that it's possible “some tariffs could be lifted” if a partial deal is reached.
Earlier on Friday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told NPR the U.S. may be willing to postpone the tariffs scheduled to hit $156 billion of Chinese goods on Dec. 15. On Thursday evening, Navarro told FOX Business' Lou Dobbs there was “no agreement” to remove existing tariffs as a condition of a phase one deal.
The back and forth comes after Chinese Ministry of Finance spokesperson Gao Feng said on Thursday morning 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 are said to be nearing a partial trade deal and had hoped to sign an agreement later this month at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile, but the event was canceled due to unrest in the country. The two sides still hope to ink an agreement, which Trump says would take place in the U.S.
Trump has said a comprehensive trade deal, which would end the trade war that has seen the world's two economic superpowers impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of one another's goods, would require two or three phases.