WASHINGTON — With fresh tariffs in place and President Donald Trump insisting he’s in no hurry for a trade deal, top U.S. and Chinese officials ended talks Friday in Washington without reaching an agreement or providing immediate word of future negotiations.
The two sides had reconvened Friday morning after a last-ditch effort the previous night failed to salvage a deal before Trump’s midnight deadline for ratcheting up punitive tariffs on Chinese goods.
Moments after the higher duties took effect, Beijing vowed to retaliate with countermeasures, although it did not provide specifics.
The new U.S. tariff action raised from 10 percent to 25 percent an import tax on $200 billion of Chinese goods, including components used in manufacturing but also many consumer products such as clothes, suitcases and seafood.
After a relatively short meeting Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been involved in the talks, told reporters that the discussions were “constructive.” He declined to say more.
A statement from the White House was expected to be issued later Friday. Chinese journalists who were briefed by China’s delegation, led by Vice Premier Liu He, gave a similar characterization of the talks, and also noted that the two sides would continue negotiations in the future in Beijing.
Friday morning, Trump posted on Twitter that “talks with China continue in a very congenial manner” but that “there is absolutely no need to rush.” He said that the U.S. government was benefiting from the tariffs paid by China, though economists widely agree that it is American importers, businesses and consumers that bear the cost.
Trump also suggested that his administration could provide additional relief aid to U.S. farmers, who have been among the hardest hit from the trade war as China has retaliated with tit-for-tat tariffs that have targeted agricultural goods from the United States.