Trump Denies Agreeing With China to Roll Back Tariffs

Optimism over a trade deal between the United States and China could be fading following comments made today by President Donald Trump.

Speaking with reporters at the White House, the U.S. leader said he had not agreed to curtail duties — a day after China said the two countries had reached an agreement to roll back tariffs scheduled to take effect next month.

“They’d like to have a rollback, I haven’t agreed to anything,” Trump said. “China would like to get somewhat of a rollback — not a complete rollback, because they know I won’t do it.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average took a slight dip following the remarks, down 6 points at market close. However, the S&P 500 was up 8 points, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 40 points.

Yesterday, all three benchmark indexes logged intraday records on the heels of Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng’s statement that the upcoming “phase one” trade deal is expected to include a resolution to dismiss the 15% duty to be implemented on Dec. 15 — affecting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Chinese consumer goods, including footwear, apparel and accessories.

“The trade war started with tariffs and should end with the cancellation of tariffs,” he said in a news briefing.

Over the past couple of weeks, delegates from the U.S. and China have had “serious and constructive” discussions in an effort to secure a deal that would end their more-than-yearlong tariff dispute, Gao added. “Both sides have agreed to cancel additional tariffs in different phases, as both sides make progress in their negotiations.”

Following China’s announcement, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow shared yesterday that “if there’s a ‘phase one’ trade deal, there are going to be tariff agreements and concessions.”

Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping were initially set to meet during the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit starting Nov. 16, but the summit was canceled in late October due to protests in Chile following a proposed hike in the country’s public transportation fares. A location for an upcoming meeting has yet to be determined.

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