Tariff rollbacks could be a sticking point

Asia Time journalist Frank Chen

Commodity markets are being pressured today, in part, by concerns that disagreement over tariff rollbacks could jeopardize the signing of the “phase one” trade agreement between the U.S. and China.

The Chinese say the two side have agreed to tariff rollbacks, but President Trump said Friday he has “not agreed to anything” on tariffs.

Frank Chen, a journalist with the Asia Times media outlet based in Hong Kong, thinks the Chinese are expecting the U.S. to make some concessions on tariffs.

“I think Beijing’s real purpose of agreeing to all the demands of signing the deal is to convince Trump to scrap, or at least delay, the imposition of further punitive tariffs,” Chen tells Brownfield.

While completion of the phase one trade agreement seems likely, Chen thinks further agreements may wait until after the 2020 presidential election.

“After the signing of the deal, I think Beijing may well choose to roll the dice on the outcome of the 2020 presidential race—to see whether there will be a new tenant in the White House.”

Chen says the sentiment in China is that a Democratic president would be easier to deal with than President Trump.

AUDIO: Frank Chen

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