Wilbur Ross: U.S., China ‘miles and miles’ away from trade deal

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the U.S. and China have “miles and miles” of negotiations ahead to resolve a trade war before higher tariffs are due to kick in on March 1.

“We’re miles and miles from getting a resolution,” Mr. Ross said on CNBC. “That shouldn’t be too surprising. Trade is very complicated.”

A Chinese trade delegation is scheduled to visit Washington next week, after talks were delayed. Mr. Ross didn’t sound optimistic that the two sides will reach agreement on issues such as enforcement mechanisms and penalties for violating any deal.

“We have until March 1, that’s when the new tariffs are supposed to go in — the increase from 10 to 25 percent,” he said. “There’s quite a little bit of time between now and then to judge just where do we stand — is it worth going forward, or have we reached an impasse?”

President Trump said China “very much wants to make a deal.”

“They’re not doing very well because of the tariffs,” the president said Wednesday. “Fairly soon, the deal that I made with them [suspending tariff increases] will come off. The tariffs will be substantially increased on China.”

He added, “I like where we are right now. We’re doing great as an economy.”