Monday 14 October 2019

US-China closing in on deal that may end most US tariffs

Taxing times: $200bn in exports from Qingdao and other Chinese ports, currently face US levies. Photo: REUTERS
Taxing times: $200bn in exports from Qingdao and other Chinese ports, currently face US levies. Photo: REUTERS

Jenny Leonard

The US and China are close to a trade deal that could lift most or all US tariffs as long as Beijing follows through on pledges ranging from better protecting intellectual-property rights to buying a significant amount of American products, two people familiar with the discussions have said.

Chinese officials made clear in a series of negotiations with the US in recent weeks that removing levies on $200bn (€176bn) of goods quickly was necessary to finalise any deal, said the people, who weren't authorised to talk publicly about the deliberations.

That's the amount the Trump administration imposed after China retaliated against the US's first salvo of $50bn in tariffs, which kicked off the eight- month trade war.

One of the remaining sticking points is whether the tariffs would be lifted immediately or over a period of time to allow the US to monitor whether China is meeting its obligations, the people said.

The US wants to continue to wield the threat of tariffs as leverage to ensure China won't renege on the deal, and only lift the duties fully when Beijing implemented all parts of the agreement.

As part of the ongoing talks, the US asked the Chinese not to retaliate or bring WTO cases in response to US tariffs that could be imposed to enforce the deal, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Summit: Dates for a meeting between Donald Trump and his China counterpart have not yet been agreed. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Summit: Dates for a meeting between Donald Trump and his China counterpart have not yet been agreed. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Stocks in Europe and Asia advanced on optimism about a deal, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rising 0.4pc. The offshore yuan gained 0.2pc.

Dates for a summit between President Donald Trump and counterpart Xi Jinping have yet to be agreed, according to officials from both countries who declined to be named.

The 'Wall Street Journal', which reported earlier that the US and China were close to finalising a trade pact, reported the summit could happen around March 27.

Plans for a signing ceremony have been complicated by Xi's need to lead China's annual National People's Congress and to make other foreign trips.

US and Chinese officials "have conducted fruitful and intensive consultations and made important progress on many issues of common concern," Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for the National People's Congress said in Beijing. "We hope that the two sides will continue to hold consultations and reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement," he added.

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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