Washington and Beijing agree to reduce some punitive tariffs

World Today

TRUMP LIU HE WHITE HOUSE OVAL OFFICE MEETINGU.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office on May 17, 2018. (Twitter/@RealDonaldTrump)

Last month, while meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, President Trump announced negotiators were close to an agreement on the first phase of a deal that would address intellectual property concerns.

The deal could also provide greater access in China for U.S. financial services firms.  

CGTN’S Jim Spellman reports. 

Trump also said China would purchase more U.S. agricultural products. At that time, the U.S. only agreed to cancel a small scheduled tariff increase.

There was no announcement about the massive tariffs the two countries began slapping on each other’s products a year-and-a-half ago. That appears to have changed.

“The trade war was started with the increasing tariffs, and should be terminated by the elimination of tariffs,” said Gao Feng, Chinese Ministry of Commerce Spokesperson. 

No details have been released about a timetable or which tariffs would be dropped. If an agreement is finalized it will be good news for American farmers. Many of them rely heavily on the Chinese market.

Pat Swanson, a farmer in Iowa said, “We have been disappointed that it has taken this long, but we’re still hopeful that we’re going to get the best trade agreement possible.”

Analysts say implementation of the first phase of a trade deal would have wide-ranging benefits.  

“Very important to have a first step, which is substantial in term of reduction of existing tariff, then it’s going to be a lot better for the two economies as well as more in general for the global economy,” said United Nations Economist, Alessandro Nicita. 

President Trump had hoped to sign an agreement for the first phase of a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC leaders meeting in Chile next week. But the event was canceled. The two countries are now trying to find an alternative time and place to sign the deal if an agreement can be finalized.