WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said he asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products because trade talks were progressing well.
He also delayed plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday, as previously scheduled.
....and I did not increase their second traunch of Tariffs to 25% on March 1st. This is very important for our great farmers - and me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019
Farmers are a key constituency for Trump’s Republican Party, and the U.S. president’s trade war with China has had a heavy impact on them. Beijing imposed tariffs last year on imports of soybeans, grain sorghum, pork and other items, slashing shipments of American farm products to China.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said this week that U.S. trade negotiators had asked China to reduce tariffs on U.S. ethanol, but it was not immediately clear whether Beijing was willing to oblige.
Trump’s post on Twitter came several hours after the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said that it would delay the scheduled hike in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The notice, to be published in the Federal Register next Tuesday, says it is “no longer appropriate” to raise the rates because of progress in negotiations since December 2018. The tariff would remain “at 10 percent until further notice.”
A tariff increase to 25 percent from 10 percent was initially scheduled for Jan. 1, but after productive conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Trump administration issued a 90 day extension of that deadline.
Trump had said Sunday he would again delay the increase because of progress in the talks.