Washington, March 2 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has asked China to remove all of its tariffs on American agricultural products, pointing to his decision to delay a second round of tariffs and to improving trade relations with Beijing.
“I have asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on our agricultural products (including beef, pork, etc.) based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with trade discussions,” he tweeted on Friday, adding: “And I did not increase their second traunch of tariffs to 25 per cent on March 1. This is very important for our great farmers – and me.”
Trump had announced the decision to delay the tariffs, as well as a planned summit to wrap up the trade agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, earlier this week, reports CNN.
The tariffs had been set to go into effect on Friday if no trade deal were reached.
China is the US’ second largest agricultural market, according to data from the Office of the US Trade Representative.
US agricultural exports to China hit $20 billion in 2017, with soybeans, the largest sole export, accounting for $12 billion.
On February 24, Trump had lauded “substantial progress” in the talks covering “important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues”.
Trump’s request on Friday came following his decision to walk away from negotiations with North Korea at a summit in Vietnam on Thursday, alleging that leader Kim Jong-un had insisted on full sanctions relief in exchange for partial denuclearization in an unacceptable offer.