Trump on China Tariffs: ‘We’re Not Talking About Removing Them’

The United States will not remove the on Chinese imports for a substantial period of time even if a trade deal is struck, President Donald Trump said Wednesday.

“We’re not talking about removing them,” Trump said to reporters on the White House lawn. “We’re talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal.”

The president’s comments come a day after Bloomberg News reported that China was walking back some earlier commitments it had made in trade talks in an effort to get the U.S. to promise to lift the tariffs immediately.

U.S. officials have not publicly said before that tariffs would not be lifted upon a successful conclusion of trade negotiations. Instead, they’ve acknowledged that is what China is seeking without directly characterizing the U.S. policy. Trump on Wednesday provided clarity that U.S. policy is to keep the tariffs in place even if an agreement is reached.

The president said the tariffs would remain in place until the U.S. was satisfied that China was living up to the commitments it may make in the trade talks.

“They’ve had a lot of problem living by certain deals and we have to make sure they do,” Trump said.

Despite announcing a policy that is sure to be seen as disappointing by China’s leadership, Trump said that the U.S. and China are “getting along well.”

“Xi is a friend of mine. The deal is coming along nicely. We have our top representatives going there this weekend to further the deal,” he said.

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