China, US agree to hold off new tariffs 'after Jan 1'

BUENOS AIRES: The United States said on Saturday (Dec 1) that it agreed in a long-awaited summit with China to suspend new tariffs for 90 days as the two powers seek to end a trade war.

The White House said a threatened increase of tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 per cent, which was set to take effect on Jan 1, would be put off for 90 days.

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“If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 per cent tariffs will be raised to 25 per cent,” a White House statement said after dinner talks between President Donald Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

The China Daily and Chinese international broadcaster CGTN both have said President Trump and his counterpart Xi agreed to halt tariffs “after Jan 1”.

Earlier, senior Trump adviser Larry Kudlow said that the meeting between the leaders went “very well.”

Trump, who in recent months has harshly criticized China and accused it of meddling in US elections, in the statement called his meeting with Xi “amazing and productive.”

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China earlier confirmed the outlines of the arrangement, saying that officials of the world’s two largest economies would get to work on resolving a range of trade disputes.

The White House said that China has also agreed to step up purchases “immediately” of an unspecified amount of US agricultural goods.

Amid the trade tensions, China has sharply curtailed its purchases of US soybeans and other produce, dealing a significant blow to farmers, a major support base for Trump.

In what the White House called a “wonderful humanitarian gesture,” the White House said that Xi would crack down on fentanyl, the opioid painkiller largely made in China that is behind an epidemic of US overdoses.


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