U.S. and Chinese Officials Consider Removing Some Tariffs in Phase 1 of Deal

U.S. and Chinese officials are considering rolling back tariffs to clinch the partial trade deal under negotiation.

U.S. and Chinese officials are actively considering rolling back some tariffs. “If there’s a deal, [removing] tariffs will be part of it,” a senior administration official said late Monday.

President Trump says, the U.S. and China have agreed in principle to what he called the 1st of several phases of an agreement to end the dispute that has penalized hundreds of billions of dollars of trade between the two countries.

“Both governments have to give to get,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The two sides are really close to a deal but it will come down to the presidents to make the final call.”

In exchange for removing tariffs on current chinese imports as well as defering tariffs schedule to begin in December the Chinese would increase purchases of American farm goods, institute rules to deter currency manipulation and some provisions to protect intellectual property, and take steps to open up Chinese industries to U.S. firms. Originally “phase one” would only include deterring brand-new tariffs on Dec. 15, but negotiators now are working on a framework that would also roll back some existing tariffs. (The Financial Times earlier reported that Trump administration officials were considering cutting tariffs of 15% on about $111 billion in Chinese imports imposed Sept. 1.)

Most top economic officials opposed the Sept. 1 tariffs, since they directly affect the price of imported consumer goods. Additionally, retailers and apparel producers widely criticized those tariffs. Officials report that it is that kind of tariff that officials are currently considering rolling back. The senior administration official said China would also ease some duties on U.S. imports.

For weeks, Chinese officials and the international business community have sought to build support for reducing tariffs in exchange for the farm-product purchases or other concessions from Beijing.

Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had been expected to sign the phase one deal, if completed, at a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders in Chile, but the government in Santiago canceled the gathering due to national protests. Washington and Beijing officials are now considering bringing the two leaders together elsewhere.

“If we get the deal, the meeting place will come very easily,” Mr. Trump said Sunday. “It’ll be someplace in the U.S.”

Most major structural issues that affect U.S. businesses would likely be left to future negotiations.

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