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Biden ‘not there yet’ on easing tariffs on Chinese goods

US leader says China not meeting commitments under a Phase 1 trade deal signed by his predecessor Donald Trump.

United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday said it was too soon to make commitments on lifting US tariffs on Chinese goods, but his chief trade negotiator Katherine Tai was working on the issue.

“I’d like to be able to be in a position where I could say they’re meeting their commitments, or more of their commitments, and be able to lift some of them, but we’re not there yet,” Biden said, referring to China’s commitments under a Phase 1 trade deal signed by his predecessor Donald Trump.

China has fallen far short of its pledge under the two-year trade agreement to buy $200bn in additional US goods and services by the end of 2021, and it remains unclear how the shortfall will be addressed.

Chinese purchases reached only about 60 percent of the target through November 2021, according to data compiled by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The US Census Bureau is expected to release December data next week.

Biden said he was aware that some business groups were clamouring for him to start unwinding US tariffs of up to 25 percent imposed by Trump on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, and that was why Tai was working on the issue.

But he said it was too soon to move forward given China’s failure to boost its purchases.

China last week said it hopes the United States can create conditions to expand trade cooperation.




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