US President Donald Trump listens to a question during a news briefing on the latest development of the coronavirus outbreak at the White House on March 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday there is “no reason” to consider suspending tariffs on goods imported from China as part of the effort to ease the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Repeating the incorrect claim that China is paying the import duties actually paid by American firms and individuals, Trump told reporters at the White House that Beijing had not asked for US tariffs to be suspended.

“China’s paying us billions and billions of dollars in tariffs, and there’s no reason to do that,” he said when asked if he would consider suspending import duties.

Despite a truce in the long-running trade war reached in January, tariffs remain in place on two-thirds of trade between the economic powers, and economists have said duties on medical products from China could be slowing the virus response.


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