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Interim U.S. Deal with Mainland China Possible as Beijing Suspends More Tariffs

President Trump said on 12 September that he would be willing to consider an interim trade agreement with mainland China, which could open the door for progress at bi-lateral talks scheduled for October. The president’s comments came as mainland China announced that it plans to add pork and soybeans to a list of U.S. goods recently exempted from its retaliatory tariffs.

“I see a lot of analysts are saying an interim deal, meaning we’ll do pieces of it, the easy ones first,” press reports quoted Trump as saying. “But there’s no easy or hard. There’s a deal or there’s not a deal. But it’s something we would consider, I guess.” A Bloomberg article reports that some of the president’s top trade advisers have been discussing an interim deal that would “delay and even roll back some U.S. tariffs for the first time in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases.”

In the meantime, a mainland Chinese state news agency said mainland China will suspend tariffs of 25 to 35 percent on imports of soybeans, pork and some other agricultural goods from the United States. That news comes just days after mainland China announced the first 16 U.S. goods excluded from its retaliatory tariffs. While observers say all of these exclusions were primarily granted to meet domestic demand for the affected goods, they are also being seen as a conciliatory gesture ahead of the resumption of bi-lateral trade talks.

Those negotiations are set to begin with discussions among working-level teams later this month, followed by a meeting of senior officials in early October. Any progress made could prompt the two sides to delay further tariff increases slated for October and December.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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