Trump delays tariff hike on Chinese goods as trade talks progress
25 February 2019
President Donald Trump on Sunday said he would delay a planned increase in tariffs on Chinese goods imported into the United States, in signs that months of trade friction has only helped to retard growth in both countries as well as globally.
After a week of talks between the two countries, Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would soon meet to seal a deal if the current progress in trade talks continued.
Trump had planned to raise tariffs to 25 per cent from 10 per cent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods imported into the United States if an agreement between the world’s two largest economies were not reached by Friday.
Trump said those tariffs would not go up for now as progress had been made in areas, including intellectual property protection, technology transfers, agriculture, services and currency.
“I will be delaying the US increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for US and China!” trump tweeted
Mar-a-Lago is the president’s property in Florida, where the two men have met before.
The president did not set an deadline for the talks to conclude, nor did the White House provide any specific details on the kind of progress that had been made.
He merely told state governors gathered at the White House that there could be “very big news over the next week or two” if all went well in the negotiations.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, also told a forum in Beijing on Monday that the talks had made “substantive progress”, providing positive expectations for the stability of bilateral ties and global economic development.
China’s official news agency Xinhua said in a commentary that the goal of an agreement was getting “closer and closer”, but also warned that negotiations would get more difficult as they approached the final stages.
“The emergence of new uncertainty cannot be ruled out, and the long-term nature, complexity, and difficulty of China-U.S. trade frictions must be clearly recognized,” Xinhua said.
The two leaders had last year called a 90-day truce to give negotiators time to arrive at a deal.
Some US trade associations cheered Trump’s move, while equity index futures opened higher on Sunday evening as trading kicked off for the week.
Chinese stocks and the yuan also jumped at the start of trade, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite index rising 2.1 per cent to its highest since 1 August, and the yuan hitting its strongest level against the dollar since July.