In-depth talks on tariffs removal under way with U.S., says China

Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng.

Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng.   | Photo Credit: AP

‘This is in line with the interests of producers and consumers’

China on Thursday said it is discussing with the U.S. “in depth” about a first phase trade deal and a potential rollback of tariffs, despite recent mixed messages over the lingering trade impasse.

Beijing and Washington have been embroiled in an 18-month trade war which has weighed on the global economy, and have slapped punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade.

Amid signs of easing tensions, the Chinese Commerce Ministry last week said the two sides had agreed on a plan to roll back tariffs in stages — only to have U.S. President Donald Trump deny that any such plan had been made.

Mr. Trump warned on Tuesday that he could even increase tariffs further if a partial deal with Beijing failed to materialise.

But China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng sounded a more positive note on Thursday, and said Beijing was “willing to work together with the US... and to create conditions for the first phase of the agreement.”

“If the two parties reach a first phase agreement, the extent of the tariff cancellations should fully reflect the importance of the first phase agreement,” Mr. Gao said at a regular briefing in Beijing. “The two sides are discussing this issue in depth.”

Mr. Trump last month held off on a round of tariff increases, and White House officials have suggested that as part of the current mini-deal he could delay fresh tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese goods planned for mid-December. The partial deal could also include promises from Beijing to increase purchases of U.S. farm goods and better protections for intellectual property rights.

Mr. Gao said the elimination of tariffs was “in line with the interests of producers and consumers, in line with the interests of China and the United States, and in line with world interests.”

Separately, China’s Customs administration on Thursday said that it was removing restrictions on US poultry imports and “allowing US poultry imports that abide by the requirements of our country’s laws and regulations.”

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 9:04:31 AM |

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