China says it is in 'close communication' with U.S. as tariffs loom

Daniel Fowler
December 12, 2019

U.S. stocks have rallied after Donald Trump said the USA and China were "very" close to a "big" trade deal.

The US is due to impose tariffs on nearly $160bn of Chinese imports such as video game consoles, computer monitors and toys on Sunday.

"They want it, and so do we", Trump tweeted.

During a regular briefing on Wednesday in Beijing, Gao Feng, spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, told reporters "The two sides' economic and trade teams are maintaining close communication".

News reports say President Donald Trump's advisers were preparing for a possible delay but the president had yet to decide.

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In October, Mr Trump said such a deal was likely to be completed by the end of the year.

Beijing has threatened to retaliate if Washington goes ahead with plans to raise duties on $160 billion of Chinese imports.

The two largest economies in the world are locked in a wide-ranging trade war but negotiators have been working to reach at least a partial resolution before Washington increases tariffs on Sunday.

Trump himself has blown hot and cold, repeatedly insisting that China needs a deal more than the United States does.

The tweet instantly lifted the mood among investors, who had been holding their breaths, awaiting a decision from the White House on whether to proceed with a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods. That contrasted with remarks he made last week that he liked the idea of waiting until after the 2020 elections in the U.S.to sign a deal. After the levies were announced, Beijing threatened to respond by adding tariffs of 5 percent and 10 percent on $75 billion of US products.

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