By DOUG PALMER
08/14/2019 01:34 PM EDT
Updated 08/14/2019 04:36 PM EDT
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested Wednesday that United States and China haven’t determined when to hold their next round of face-to-face trade talks. "I don’t believe a date has been set," Ross said in an interview on CNBC. Instead, the next step in the long-running negotiations is "perhaps another phone call in a couple of weeks."
He made the remarks one day after President Donald Trump's administration announced it would delay a new 10 percent tariff on about $160 billion worth of Chinese goods until Dec. 15 to avoid any price hikes on goods such as cellphones, laptops and video game consoles before the Christmas holiday.
The move had temporarily bolstered investors’ confidence about an easing in the trade war between the two major economic powers. But by Wednesday, traders seemed to have renewed worries about a looming recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day 800 points lower, while the broader Standard & Poor’s index fell nearly 3 percent.
Trump seemed to blame the selloff on the Federal Reserve's handling of interest rates, rather than concern that his trade war with China could tip the U.S. economy into recession.
"We are winning, big time, against China. Companies & jobs are fleeing. Prices to us have not gone up, and in some cases, have come down. China is not our problem, though Hong Kong is not helping. Our problem is with the Fed. Raised too much & too fast. Now too slow to cut," he wrote on Twitter.
The American Action Forum, a group opposed to the tariffs, said Wednesday that Trump has now imposed or threatened to impose tariffs on $555.6 billion worth of goods, raising costs for consumers by $96.6 billion.
Trump still plans to slap a 10 percent tariff on approximately another $112 billion or more of Chinese goods, to take effect on Sept. 1.