efe-epaWashington

The president of the United States said Friday that no agreement has been reached with China to gradually roll back bilateral tariffs as part of a so-called "phase one" trade accord.

Donald Trump's remarks contradicted an announcement made Thursday by Beijing and later confirmed by US officials.

"(China) would like to have a rollback. I haven't agreed to anything. China would like to get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback because they know I won't do it," Trump said in remarks to reporters outside the White House.

"But we're getting along very well with China. They want to make a deal. Frankly, they want to make a deal a lot more than I do. I'm very happy right now. We're taking in billions of dollars," he added.

Trump also reiterated that a "phase one" trade agreement with China might be signed in Iowa, where the first of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses will take place in February.

Iowa has been particularly hard hit by the dispute with China because of Beijing's tariffs on soybeans, a key crop in that farm state.

Trump had already expressed his desire that an eventual summit with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping be held in Iowa, although on Friday he said the venue could be in another part of US "farm country."

The US president's remarks on tariffs contradicted an announcement made Thursday by China's Commerce Ministry, which said it had reached an agreement with the US to phase out the bilateral tariffs.

Sources close to the trade talks confirmed that the tariffs would be rolled back as part of "phase one" of a trade accord.

According to Dezan Shira & Associates, a pan-Asia, professional services firm, the US has slapped tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese products since the trade war began in earnest in July 2018.

Also looming on Dec. 15 is a proposed 15 percent tariff on $156 billion in Chinese goods, including smartphones and other consumer goods.

Total tariffs applied to US goods by China thus far have totaled $185 billion, that professional services firm says.

US stocks fell on Friday after Trump's remarks, with the Dow 30, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all moving into red territory.

The Dow was still down 0.15 percent shortly after midday, while the S&P and Nasdaq were up 0.05 percent and 0.26 percent, respectively.

The markets had responded optimistically to a potential China-US trade deal on Thursday, with the Dow closing up 182.24 points, or 0.66 percent, to a record high of 27,674.80. EFE-EPA

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