China halves tariffs on more than 1,700 US goods

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China plans to halve tariffs on 1,717 goods it imports from the US as the country faces the fresh challenge of the coronavirus.

Chinese officials said tariffs on some goods would be cut from to 5% from 10%, and on others from 5% to 2.5%.

The two countries have been stuck in a long-running trade war with both imposing tariffs on imported products.

A partial resolution was agreed last month with China promising to boost imported US goods by $200bn.

This latest announcement to reduce tariffs is China’s first response to the “phase one” agreement.

China’s economy has been under additional pressure this year as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to derail the economy. Factories across the country remain closed and its manufacturing sector faces a severe drop in production.

The tariff cuts, which cover $75bn of US goods coming into China, will take effect on 14 February. Tariffs remain on a further $35bn worth of US goods.

The US will also roll back some tariffs on Chinese goods as part of the agreement.

It is being seen as a significant step towards resolving the US-China trade war. In a statement, China’s finance ministry said the aim was ”to promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations”.

Talking about the timing of the tariff reductions, Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said: ”Perhaps they want to show goodwill and send the message that they are still committed to de-escalating trade tensions despite the coronavirus delaying the ramp-up in their imports from the US”.

Stock markets around Asia rallied on the news. Both Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei 225 both rose 2.6% following the announcement.

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