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China says it agreed with US to roll back existing tariffs in phases

The amount of tariff relief that would come in the first phase, set to be signed in the coming weeks, would depend on the content of that agreement, spokesman Gao Feng said

Bloomberg News 

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China and the US have agreed to roll back tariffs on each other’s goods in phases as they work toward a deal between the two sides, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman said.

“In the past two weeks, top negotiators had serious, constructive discussions and agreed to remove the additional tariffs in phases as progress is made on the agreement,” spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday.

“If China, US reach a phase-one deal, both sides should roll back existing additional tariffs in the same proportion simultaneously based on the content of the agreement, which is an important condition for reaching the agreement,” Gao said.

An interim US-China trade deal is widely expected to include a US pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys. If confirmed by the US, such an understanding could help provide a road map to a deal de-escalating the trade war that’s cast a shadow over the world China’s key demand since the start of negotiations has been the removal of punitive tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump, which by now apply to the majority of its exports to the US.

“The question right now is what the two sides have actually agreed on — the market’s focus has shifted to how the US may react to China’s tariff remarks tonight or in coming days,” said Tommy Xie, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking. “Investors are still cautious and the advance in the yuan is still limited. The currency could rally to 6.9 if the US confirms the news on the lift of tariffs.”

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First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 13:12 IST
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