- Previous media reports indicated those could be delayed as part of a broader trade agreement between the US and China that was announced in October.
- But the so-called phase one deal has not been signed or even laid out on paper.
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President Donald Trump could still extend punitive tariffs to virtually all imports from China this month, even after the announcement of an interim trade agreement this fall that was expected to delay the scheduled escalation.
Fox reported Tuesday that Trump plans to follow through with tariffs on roughly $160 billion worth of Chinese products December 15, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. When asked to confirm that report, a White House official told Business Insider that there have "been no announcements that we are not."
Recent media reports indicated that those tariffs could be delayed as part of a broader trade agreement between the US and China that was announced in October. Trump said it included commitments from China on intellectual property rules, agricultural purchases and financial market access.
But negotiators have in recent weeks failed to agree on some of those terms of the so-called phase one deal, which has not been signed or even laid out on paper. A clash over US support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong and other foreign policy issues have also appeared to complicate negotiations.
There are currently no high-level meetings scheduled between the two sides.
On Tuesday, Trump said he had "no deadline" to defuse trade tensions with China and suggested that an agreement might not be reached until after the presidential election in November 2020.
"In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal," Trump told reporters at the NATO summit in London. "But they want to make a deal now and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right."
Financial markets extended losses following the comment, with all three major averages down more than 1%. In recent months, it has become increasingly evident that tit-for-tat tariffs have undermined business activity and investment in some of the largest economies.
The Trump administration escalated separate trade fights on Monday, threatening tariffs of up to 100% on $2.4 billion worth of French imports to retaliate against a tax on big tech companies. The president also threatened to reimpose tariffs on metal from Brazil and Argentina for alleged currency manipulation, a surprise move that raised legal questions among US trade lawyers.
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