China Halves Tariffs on $75 Billion in U.S. Goods as Part of Phase One Trade Deal

President Donald Trump greets Chinese Vice Premier Liu He after signing phase one of the U.S.-China trade agreement in the East Room of the White House, January 15, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

China announced Thursday that it will cut existing tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods in half as part of the Phase One trade deal President Trump signed last month.

Tariffs imposed in September on some U.S. goods will be slashed from 10 percent to 5 percent and from 5 percent to 2.5 percent on other goods, according to China’s Ministry of Finance.

“China hopes both sides can follow what have been agreed in the deal and make efforts to implement relevant parts of the deal to boost market confidence, to promote bilateral relations, and to help world economic growth,” China’s State Council Tariff Commission said in a statement.

The cuts, which China hopes will “advance the healthy and stable development of China-U.S. trade,” will take effect on February 14, the same day the U.S. has agreed to halve tariffs on about $120 billion in Chinese goods from 15 percent to 7.5 percent.

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China agreed in August to restart trade talks with the Trump administration, prompting the U.S. to agree to delay additional tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese products. The U.S. currently has heavy tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The administration hopes the preliminary trade agreement, which includes China’s pledge to buy about $200 billion worth of U.S. goods over two years, will be the beginning of the end of the trade battles that have roiled the relationship of the two countries and the global economy over the last two years. The agreement also cracks down on the way China handles intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer.

China’s new tariff cuts come as critics worry the world’s second largest economy will not be able to abide by terms of the deal, especially as it reels from the coronavirus outbreak that has spread across the country and hobbled China’s economy. The disease has killed at least 565 people and sickened more than 28,000.

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