US trade representatives have reached a tentative trade deal with China in time to stave off a new round of tariffs due to go into affect on Sunday and are just awaiting President Donald Trump to sign off on it.
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The new duties, which are due to go ahead at 12:01 a.m. Washington time on Sunday unless the administration signals otherwise, would hit some US$160 billion in consumer goods from China including smartphones and toys. The S&P 500 index is now up more than 26 per cent so far this year. -China trade negotiations by The Wall Street Journal, the US has recently offered to Beijing to reduce some of the current tariffs by as much as 50 percent, if China pledges to buy big volumes of USA agricultural products, protect US intellectual property rights, and allow more access to its financial services sector.
China's commerce ministry said Thursday that the two sides were in "close" contact ahead of Sunday's deadline.
The U.S. -China trade war has slowed global growth and dampened profits and investment for companies around the world.
December 15 is a crucial date.
If U.S. President Donald Trump does not suspend the new tariffs, Beijing officials will apply more tariffs on U.S. goods and may suspend talks until after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020, trade experts believe.
China also said it will reinstitute - on December 15 - an additional 25 percent tariff on US-made vehicles and five percent tariffs on auto parts that had been suspended at the beginning of 2019.
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The White House had no comment on any tariff reduction offers.
A decision to proceed with the levies could roil financial markets and scuttle US-China talks to end the 17-month-long trade war between the world's two largest economies.
If the US does not suspend the new tariffs, Beijing officials will apply more tariffs on USA goods and may suspend talks until after the USA presidential election.
"This one seems a little bit more tangible than some of the previous ones, but I still think investors are wise to wait ... for something actually being signed."
The two countries agreed in October to conclude a preliminary trade agreement.
As described, the potential agreement falls short of what the United States initially said were its goals, said Jennifer Hillman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former trade official.
In August, China said it would impose five percent and 10 percent in additional tariffs on $75bn of United States goods in two batches. Tariffs on the first batch kicked in on September 1, hitting US goods including soybeans, pork, beef, chemicals and crude oil.