US Secretary of State: US, China close to ending trade war

Mike Pompeo said the two sides are 'on the cusp' of a deal

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the U.S. and China could be “on the cusp” of reaching a deal to end the trade war.

Reuters reports Pompeo made the comment in one of a series of recent interviews with radio and television stations about how the government is trying to persuade China to end tariffs on U.S. agricultural produce.

Pompeo told Iowa station KGCI television: “We’re trying to get that rectified, get that fixed, make it fair and reciprocal and I think we’re on the cusp of doing that and I hope all those tariffs will go away, all those barriers.”

There appears to now be a consensus among many U.S. officials that the state is making progress on the issue. White House economic advisor Kevin Hasset told Fox Business News the U.S. had reached a point where a deal with China is now in sight, saying, “if we open up Chinese markets to U.S. firms, to U.S. farmers … there would be a massive amount of new business.”

President Donald Trump originally set March 1 as a deadline for hiking up tariffs on Chinese imports but rescinded the decision last month after “substantial progress” was made in negotiations.

China has requested the U.S. rolls back on the US$200 billion worth of tariffs Trump imposed last year but Bloomberg reports there is conflict within the administration on how many of the duties to cut, or whether all should be removed.

China has already reportedly offered to increase its purchase of U.S. products over the course of six years by US$1.2 trillion, but is yet to heed Trump’s demand to immediately remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural produce.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said both sides have set out to establish a system of regular consultations to address any future grievances, Bloomberg reports.