China is considering to cancel the high-level trade talks with the US, multiple media reports have said, hours after President Donald Trump threatened to impose more punishing tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese products.
President Trump's remarks came on Sunday, May 5, as the two countries locked in a longstanding trade war seemed near to striking a trade deal.
A high-level Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He was scheduled to be in Washington this week to resume talks aimed at resolving the trade war that has cast gloom over the world economy.
"China is considering cancelling trade talks that are to resume in Washington starting Wednesday," The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, May 5, quoting unnamed sources.
"There has been widespread expectations in recent days that an accord could be reached by Friday," it said.
But Trump's tweets surprised many and appear to reflect on the difficulties in the US-China trade negotiations that have been going on since December when the US president and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to work on a trade deal within a time frame of 100 days.
"For 10 months, China has been paying tariffs to the USA of 25 per cent on 50 billion dollars of High Tech, and 10 per cent on 200 billion dollars of other goods," Trump said in a series of tweets on Sunday.
These payments are partially responsible for America's great economic results, he said.
"The 10 per cent will go up to 25 per cent on Friday. 325 billions dollars of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25 per cent," he said.
Trump said the tariffs paid to the US have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China.
"The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!" he tweeted.
The Wall Street Journal report said that Trump's tweet had taken Beijing by surprise.
"China shouldn't negotiate with a gun pointed to its head," an unnamed Chinese person was quoted as saying in the report.
A decision on whether to go ahead with the talks this week has not been made, the report said.
The Chinese officials have said Beijing would not bend to pressure tactics. By potentially scotching the trip, Beijing would be following up on its pledge to avoid negotiating under threat, it said.
Trump's latest move will raise duties on more than 5,000 products made by Chinese producers, ranging from chemicals to textiles and consumer goods.
The US president originally imposed a 10 per cent tariff on these goods in September that was due to rise in January, but postponed this as negotiations advanced.
In Argentina, Trump agreed not to increase the import tariffs on Chinese products till an agreement is reached in 100 days. The deadline ended in March, which was extended by Trump and he did not increase the import tariffs.
Last month, Trump said the US and China could wrap up trade talks within four weeks after making quick progress on the potentially "epic" deal.
"We will probably know over the next four weeks. It may take two weeks after that.... It's looking very good," Trump had said.