July 4, 2019 / 7:38 AM / 12 days ago

China says existing U.S. tariffs must be removed for a trade deal

BEIJING (Reuters) - Existing U.S. tariffs will have to be removed if there is to be a trade deal between Beijing and Washington, China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday.

The leaders of the two countries agreed last weekend to relaunch trade talks that had stalled in May after U.S. officials accused China of pulling back from commitments made in the text of a pact negotiators had said was nearly finished.

Trade teams from both countries are in contact, commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a regular media briefing.

To get talks restarted, U.S. President Donald Trump had agreed not to put tariffs on about $300 billion in additional Chinese imports and ease curbs on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The United States now has tariffs of 25% on $250 billion of Chinese goods, ranging from furniture to semiconductors.

China welcomes the U.S. decision not to slap new tariffs on its goods, Gao said, when asked how long the trade truce can last.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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