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China and US ‘moving closer to initial trade agreement’ as Trump considers scrapping $156billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods

  • China is pressuring Trump administration to remove tariffs on Chinese imports
  • US official says it’s mulling cancellation of $156billion worth of tariffs
  • China also wants US to scrap 15% tariffs that went into effect in September 

The United States and China appear to be close to clinching the first phase of a trade agreement that is expected to see both sides remove tariffs, according to multiple media reports.

China is pushing President Trump to remove more tariffs imposed in September as part of a ‘phase one’ US-China trade deal, people familiar with the negotiations said on Monday.

The deal, which may be signed later this month by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a yet-to-be determined location, is widely expected to include a US pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15 on about $156billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys.

A US official said the fate of the December 15 tariffs is being considered as part of negotiations and a potential signing trip this month.

Another source briefed on the talks said Chinese negotiators want Washington to drop 15 per cent tariffs on about $125billion worth of Chinese goods that went into effect on September 1.

They are also seeking relief from earlier 25 per cent tariffs on about $250billion of imports from machinery and semiconductors to furniture.

A person familiar with Beijing’s negotiating position said that China is continuing to press Washington to ‘remove all tariffs as soon as possible.’

China’s request to remove the September 1 duties was earlier reported by Politico, citing sources.

The Financial Times newspaper also reported that the White House was considering whether to roll back the September 1 tariffs, which cover some clothing items, flat-screen televisions, smart speakers and Bluetooth headphones.