US, China Agreed to Eliminate Tariffs in Stages, China Says
China and U.S. agreed to lift tariffs in stages as they progress in trade talks, China’s Ministry of Commerce said during a Nov. 7 press conference. “If the two parties reach the first phase agreement, they should cancel the tariffs that have been imposed according to the content of the agreement,” a Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said, according to an unofficial translation. “The trade war starts with the addition of tariffs and should also be terminated by the elimination of tariffs.” The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative did not comment.
China said the two sides agreed to lift the tariffs in stages as part of their phase-one agreement, which was expected to be signed at the November summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum this month in Chile before the country canceled the summit (see 1910300037). Canceling tariffs in stages is “an important condition for reaching an agreement,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson declined to say whether the two sides had agreed to a new meeting place to sign the deal, but said the talks are going well and the countries remain in “close communication.” During the last two weeks “the leaders of the two sides have conducted serious and constructive discussions on properly addressing their core concerns,” the spokesperson said. Cancellation of tariffs “will help stabilize market expectations, benefit the economies of the two countries and the world economy, benefit producers, and benefit consumers,” China said.
The announcement came as China’s General Administration of Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs consider lifting import tariffs on U.S. poultry products, according to a report from Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency.