US puts tariffs against China ‘on hold,’ Mnuchin says

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has decided not to impose tariffs on Chinese products for now, after progress between the two nations on trade issues in two days of talks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

“We’re putting the trade war on hold, right now,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion worth of Chinese imports to punish Beijing for violating American intellectual property. China has said it would to retaliate with tariffs on such products as soybeans to airplanes.

Mnuchin’s comments came after the two nations Saturday released a joint statement Saturday in which China proposed to “significantly increase purchases” of U.S. goods.

But the statement released by the White House didn’t put a dollar figure on the increased purchases by China, or address a comment Friday by Trump’s top economic adviser, suggesting that Beijing had agreed to cut its annual trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion.

Vice Premier Liu He, a envoy for Chinese President Xi Jinping, said in Washington that talks with Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer ended with a pledge not to engage in a trade war, according to a Xinhua news agency report.

“We made very meaningful progress and we agreed on a framework. The framework includes their agreement to substantially reduce the trade deficit by increasing their purchases of goods,” Mnuchin said.

The two sides have agreed to numerical targets, he said, but the he didn’t want to disclose them.

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