Politics

Trump says China tariffs 'may or may not be removed' while trade talks continue

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump says China tariffs "may or may not be removed" while trade talks continue.
  • Talks end early Friday afternoon with positive signs but still far from a deal.after two days of tense negotiations.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says there are no additional talks scheduled in the future.
President Donald Trump waves during joint statements with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017.
Thomas Peter | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Friday issued a statement about the high-level trade talks this week with a Chinese delegation, saying the stiff tariffs his administration imposed Friday "may or may not be removed" while trade talks continue.

Markets responded to the statement by jumping to session highs after a roller coaster week that was marked by sharp swings, largely in response to news of progress, followed by setbacks, in the trade talks.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that there are currently no China trade talks scheduled in the future. "Nothing planned as of now," he said, adding that the talks held this week were "constructive."

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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: No more China trade talks planned as of now

The statement came as talks ended early Friday afternoon, after Liu He, the top Chinese trade negotiator, left the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, in Washington after two days of negotiations.

Both U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mnuchin were seen entering the White House after the talks ended.

The world's two largest economies engaged in negotiations on Thursday and Friday as they tried to salvage a trade deal that appeared to be within their grasp only a week ago.

The U.S. increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% from 10% on Friday following what it called China's decision to back out of key commitments to a developing agreement. China has promised to retaliate against the tariffs, but it is unclear what action Beijing would take.

CNBC's Eamon Javers contributed reporting to this story.