China and the United States have agreed to halt additional tariffs as the two sides engage in new trade negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days.
The ceasefire in the trade war came after talks on Saturday between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, Reuters reports.
Trump will leave tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports at 10 percent at the beginning of the new year, agreeing to not raise them to 25 percent “at this time”, the White House was quoted as saying in a statement.
“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” the statement said.
“China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”
Trump and Xi also agreed to immediately start talks on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, the White House said.
Both countries agreed they will try to have this “transaction” completed within the next 90 days, but if this does not happen then the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent, it added.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said the negotiations were conducted in a “friendly and candid atmosphere”.
“The two presidents agreed that the two sides can and must get bilateral relations right,” Wang told reporters, adding they agreed to further exchanges at appropriate times.
“Discussion on economic and trade issues was very positive and constructive. The two heads of state reached consensus to halt the mutual increase of new tariffs,” Wang said.
“China is willing to increase imports in accordance with the needs of its domestic market and the people’s needs, including marketable products from the United States, to gradually ease the imbalance in two-way trade.”
“The two sides agreed to mutually open their markets, and as China advances a new round of reforms, the United States’ legitimate concerns can be progressively resolved.”
Beijing and Washington would “step up negotiations” toward full elimination of all additional tariffs, Wang said.
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