While the U.S. may hold off on imposing tariffs on other Chinese goods as the two sides try to negotiate new trade rules, the tariffs on steel and aluminum are staying.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the statement Tuesday during his appearance before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
"As it relates to China, the steel and aluminum tariffs will remain enforced," he said. "Those were not part of our discussions.”
In late March, the White House announced it would place a 25 percent duty on steel and a 10 percent duty on aluminum in an effort to restore “balance” with foreign steel-producing countries such as China. The decision has roiled many business groups that support free trade, but it has pleased steelmakers and those within the president’s cabinet who prefer a more protectionist trade policy.
On Saturday, Chinese officials announced the country would boost its purchase of U.S. goods and services. In response, Mnuchin said the U.S. would hold off on imposing additional tariffs while negotiators tried to craft a final agreement. The steel and aluminum tariffs were not specifically mentioned, leading some analysts to wonder if they were staying in place.