President Donald Trump said he would raise tariffs on Chinese goods if no trade deal is reached.
“China is going to have to make a deal that I like. If they don’t, that’s it,” Trump said Tuesday at a cabinet meeting. “If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher.”
The U.S. announced that it had reached a “phase one” preliminary trade deal in October. Negotiations to finalize the deal have continued for weeks, including a call on Friday between U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and China’s Vice Premier Liu He.
Chinese state media over the weekend described the Friday call as “constructive.” On Monday, however, CNBC reported that Chinese officials were pessimistic about reaching a trade deal.
The existing tariffs on around $500 billion of Chinese goods appear to be the stumbling block. China wants those tariffs removed as part of the preliminary deal and said in October that a tariff rollback would be part of the deal. President Trump last week said he had not agreed to rollback tariffs.
China hawks in the White House want to keep existing tariffs in place while a comprehensive deal is worked out.
Despite threatening to raise tariffs, Trump insisted he gets along well with China.
“Now, with that being said, I have a good relationship with China. We’ll see what happens, but I’m very happy right now,” Trump said.