Trump moves forward with trade deal as China lowers tariffs

Published on
January 2, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump said he will sign the so-called “Phase One” trade deal with China, first announced on 13 December.

Trump said on Twitter he would sign the deal on 15 January at the White House. He also announced plans to travel to Beijing for negotiations on Phase Two at an unspecified later date.

The South China Morning Post reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would lead his country’s delegation to Washington to sign the trade deal.

The deal requires China to make structural reforms to its trading policies and to strengthen its intellectual property protections in exchange for a reduction of current and proposed U.S. tariffs. China also agreed to lift certain barriers to its markets for food products including seafood, as well as beef, poultry, pet food, and animal feed, according to the Associated Press. In exchange, the United States halted a planned round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

In another tariff-related move, on 23 December, China released its official list of 856 product codes that will be subject to lower tariffs as of 1 January. The products on the list were selected for being in short supply and which are naturally scarce in China, according to Xinhua. The move will result in provisional import tax rates for the 850 products that are lower than the most-favored-nation (MFN) tariff rates, the news agency reported.

According to the the official tariff-reduction list released by China’s Ministry of Commerce, tariffs on frozen Atlantic salmon were lowered from 7 percent to 5 percent. Pollock and lobster will see tariffs reduced to 5 percent, and duties on several types of tuna were reduced by 1 percent, while those on herring and cod were lowered to 2 percent.

Countries with bilateral trade deals with China, including New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, Singapore, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Chile, and Pakistan, as well as countries involved in the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, will see further tariff reductions, according to Xinhua.

Photo courtesy of Kaliva/Shutterstock

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