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AFP
August 14, 2019

US delaying new tariffs on Chinese electronics to Dec 15

Business

AFP
August 14, 2019

Washington: The United States is delaying until December 15 imposition of new 10 percent tariffs on Chinese electronics, but going ahead with new duties starting September 1 on $300 billion in Chinese goods, the government announced Tuesday.

As Washington and Beijing work to resolve the escalating trade war, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He early Tuesday and has another call planned in two weeks, a USTR official told AFP.

The latest round of tariffs, which President Donald Trump announced on August 1, mean all Chinese imports into the United States would be subject to additional duties.

The sides were due to hold another round of meetings in Washington in September, but the deterioration in relations in the past two weeks cast doubt on whether the negotiations would take place. And Trump accused Beijing of continuing to renege on its commitment to buy US agricultural goods.

"As usual, China said they were going to be buying ´big´ from our great American Farmers. So far they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

USTR said in a statement it was going ahead with the tariffs next month, but would delay the start for cell phones, laptops, computer monitors, video game consoles and some toys, footwear and clothing.

In addition, "certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent."

The Trump administration delayed imposing import tariff on laptops, cell phones, video game consoles and some other products made in China that had been scheduled to start next month, in an abrupt pull-back from a hardline stance on Chinese trade.

The delay provides some relief to retailers. Although most retailers would have had their holiday merchandise in stores even before the earlier September deadline, some might have faced the tariffs for fill-in orders late in the holiday shopping season.

The decision came less than two weeks after President Donald Trump said on Aug. 1 he would impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods, blaming China for not following through on promises to buy more American agricultural products.

Since Trump’s Aug. 1 tweets threatening the new tariffs, the U.S. benchmark S&P stock index has dropped more than 4 percent percent.

On Tuesday, technology investors welcomed news of the exemptions, pushing an index of chip stocks up 2.8 percent, while shares of Apple surged more than 5 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 500 points.

The exemptions, combined with renewed talks with China, suggest Trump may be willing to compromise.

The announcement comes amid growing concerns about a global slowdown. Goldman Sachs said on Sunday fears of the U.S.-China trade war leading to a recession are increasing and that Goldman no longer expects a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Trump had also personally criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping for failing to do more to stem sales of the synthetic opioid fentanyl amid an opioid overdosing crisis in the United States.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office will publish additional details and lists of the specific product types impacted by the announcement. The office plans to conduct an exclusion process for products subject to the additional tariff.

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