U.S., China May Roll Back Some Tariffs As Phase One Deal Nears
In what appears to be a sign of progress in the ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, both sides have agreed to putting together a deal that would remove some of the tariffs the countries have imposed on each other’s products. The deal, referred to as a “phase one agreement,” has not yet been struck but the news of a commitment to tariff rollbacks suggests it could be close.
Where and when such agreement would be signed is not yet known. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were set to meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Chile on November 16-17, but it has been canceled because of civil unrest in the host country.
It is not yet known what form the tariff rollbacks would take. The South China Morning Post reports that observers expect the interim deal to cancel U.S. tariffs scheduled for December 15 on approximately $156 billion in Chinese imports, and for China to buy more agricultural products, open up its financial markets and relax Chinese restrictions on genetically modified U.S. food products. According to The New York Times, the U.S. is considering rolling back the September 1 tariffs that were imposed on $100 billion in Chinese imports.
The South China Morning Post reports that at a weekly news conference, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng, said, “In the past two weeks, top negotiators have had serious and constructive discussions on resolving issues of core concern. Both sides agreed to remove the additional tariffs imposed in phases as progress is made on the agreement. If China and the U.S. reach a phase one deal, both sides should roll back existing additional tariffs in the same proportion simultaneously.”
News of movement towards a deal has buoyed stock markets on both sides of the Pacific, with the S&P 500 rising more than half a percentage point by mid-day today.
Positive news on the trade negotiations comes in the same week that lobbying group Tariffs Hurt The Heartland released a study reporting that American consumers and businesses have paid an additional $38 billion since the trade war began in February 2018 through September 2019. In September, tariffs totaled $7.1 billion, a 59 percent-year-over-year increase as more tariffs on additional consumer-facing products went into effect on September 1. The same report noted that Chinese tariffs on American exports have totaled $10.6 billion since the start of the trade war and topped $1 billion in September alone.