China, U.S. Reach Détente on Trade

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China and the U.S. announced Friday the details of the first phase of a trade deal. Under the agreement, the U.S. will not impose a planned wave of tariffs on Chinese cell phones, laptops and other consumer items. Telecom equipment providers were not mentioned specifically in the deal.

The tariffs will be removed in stages, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said, as President Donald Trump confirmed that some levies will be reduced and said the next round of talks will start immediately. Trump tweeted, “The 25 percent Tariffs will remain as is, with 7 ½ percent put on much of the remainder…” 

China will increase imports from the U.S. and other countries, Wang said at a briefing in Beijing Friday. Vice Chairman of the National Reform and Development Commission Ning Jizhe added that specifics would be released later, as the text of the agreement is still under review, reported Bloomberg.  

The higher tariffs were due to go into effect yesterday, December 15. China’s reaction represents the first phase in defusing an approximately 18 month trade war between the world’s largest economies involving nearly $500 billion in products shipped between the two nations, according to Bloomberg.

The deal text comprises nine chapters, including sections on intellectual property, forced technology transfer, food and agricultural products, finance, currency and transparency, boosting trade, bilateral assessment and dispute resolution, according to officials. Both sides agreed to finish the final portions such as legal review and translation as soon as possible and work on arrangements for the ultimate signing, said Wang.

“It doesn’t matter. One China deal isn’t going to solve our problems with China,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “It may get us through some short-term friction but we have big systemic problem with trade with China.” 

December 16, 2019

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