U.S. offers China tariff rate cut; announcement possibly 'imminent'

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States has offered to cut existing tariffs on Chinese goods by as much as 50% and suspend new tariffs scheduled to go into effect on Sunday in an attempt to secure a 'Phase One' trade deal. U.S. negotiators have offered to reduce tariffs on about $375 billion in Chinese goods by 50% across the board, two people familiar with the negotiations said on Thursday, and suspend tariffs on $160 billion in goods scheduled for Dec

Reuters December 13, 2019 02:11:13 IST
U.S. offers China tariff rate cut; announcement possibly 'imminent'

US offers China tariff rate cut announcement possibly imminent

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States has offered to cut existing tariffs on Chinese goods by as much as 50% and suspend new tariffs scheduled to go into effect on Sunday in an attempt to secure a "Phase One" trade deal.

U.S. negotiators have offered to reduce tariffs on about $375 billion in Chinese goods by 50% across the board, two people familiar with the negotiations said on Thursday, and suspend tariffs on $160 billion in goods scheduled for Dec. 15.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told senators during a briefing that announcements were possibly "imminent" on U.S. tariffs, Senator John Cornyn told reporters.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have been embroiled in a 17-month trade war that has slowed global growth and dampened profits and investment for companies around the world.

Dec. 15 is a crucial date. If the United States does not suspend the new tariffs, Beijing officials will apply more tariffs on U.S. goods and may suspend talks until after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020, many trade experts believe.

Trump is expected to meet top trade advisers at 2:30 on Thursday afternoon to discuss trade negotiations.

The final percentage of tariff rate reduction the United States might offer Beijing has not been set, and will be proportional to the amount of the Section 301 trade war issues addressed by Chinese concessions, one source said.

Trump said on Thursday the United States was "very close" to nailing down a deal. "Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China," Trump posted on Twitter. "They want it, and so do we."

During a regular briefing on Wednesday in Beijing, Gao Feng, spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, told reporters: "The two sides' economic and trade teams are maintaining close communication."

Stock markets jumped on Trump's tweet, and the S&P 500 <.SPX> shot to a record high and was trading up 0.5% in the afternoon.

Trump, speaking at a White House event on paid parental leave later on Thursday morning, acknowledged the impact. "The stock market's up very substantially today as some of you may know. And when it goes up I think of 401(k)s," he said.

The White House had no comment on any tariff reduction offers.

The United States is due to impose tariffs on almost $160 billion of Chinese imports such as video game consoles, computer monitors and toys on Dec. 15.

Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has recently taken a larger role in U.S.-China trade negotiations, and is among the advisers pushing the 50% tariff rollback, one person briefed on the talks said.

A decision to proceed with the Dec. 15 levies could roil financial markets. Gao declined to comment on possible retaliatory steps if Washington imposes more tariffs on Chinese goods this weekend.

Analysts at Capital Alpha Partners said they expect Trump to announce, as soon as Thursday, a delay in the Dec. 15 tariffs for more than 30 days.

China and the United States agreed in October to conclude a preliminary trade agreement, but Beijing is balking at U.S. demands that it promise to buy a specific amount of agricultural goods. Beijing is also demanding rollbacks of all existing tariffs imposed by the United States.

Beijing has said previously it would retaliate if the United States escalates the trade dispute.

In August, China said it would impose 5% and 10% in additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods in two batches. Tariffs on the first batch kicked in on Sept. 1, hitting U.S. goods including soybeans, pork, beef, chemicals and crude oil.

The tariffs on the second batch of products are due to be activated on Dec. 15, affecting goods ranging from corn and wheat to small aircraft and rare earth magnets.

China also said it will reinstitute on Dec. 15 an additional 25% tariff on U.S.-made vehicles and 5% tariffs on auto parts that had been suspended at the beginning of 2019.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley in Beijing, and David Lawder and Jeff Mason in Washington; Writing by Ryan Woo and Heather Timmons; Editing by Nick Macfie and Matthew Lewis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

New York, Florida tell hospitals to speed COVID-19 vaccinations or lose supply
World

New York, Florida tell hospitals to speed COVID-19 vaccinations or lose supply

By Carl O'Donnell and Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - The governors of New York and Florida sought to accelerate the slower-than-expected rollout of coronavirus vaccines by warning hospitals on Monday that they would reduce future allocations to those that fail to dispense shots quickly enough. In New York, hospitals must administer vaccines within a week of receiving them or face a fine and loss of future supplies, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "I don't want the vaccine in a fridge or a freezer, I want it in somebody's arm," the governor said

UK judge rejects extraditing Assange to U.S., citing suicide risk
World

UK judge rejects extraditing Assange to U.S., citing suicide risk

By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - A British judge ruled on Monday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges including breaking a spying law, saying his mental health problems meant he would be at risk of suicide. U.S. authorities accuse Australian-born Assange, 49, of 18 counts relating to the release by WikiLeaks of vast troves of confidential U.S

Breakthrough reached in Gulf dispute with Qatar -senior Trump official
World

Breakthrough reached in Gulf dispute with Qatar -senior Trump official

By Steve Holland and Aziz El Yaakoubi WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) -A breakthrough has been reached in Qatar's three-year-old dispute with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries and an agreement aimed at ending their rift is to be signed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official said. The development is the latest in a series of Middle East deals sought by Washington - the others involving Israel and Arab states - aimed at building a united front against Iran. As part of the deal, Saudi Arabia will reopen its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar as of Monday, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah said on Kuwait TV ahead of a Gulf Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.