China, US to do away with tariffs on two-way goods

Updated: Nov 08, 2019, 12:33 IST | Agencies | Beijing

With the two sides embroiled in a bruising trade war for more than a year now, there is growing hope that they would reach an agreement soon

A salesman with Chinese shoes at a store in the Chinatown 
area of Los Angeles. File pic/ AFP
A salesman with Chinese shoes at a store in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. File pic/ AFP

Beijing: China and the US have agreed to a plan to remove tariffs imposed on two-way goods in stages, the commerce ministry said on Thursday, as negotiators try to hammer out a trade deal. The two sides have been embroiled in a bruising trade war for more than a year, and have slapped punitive tariffs on hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars-worth of two-way trade. But there has been growing hope that they are close to reaching a mini agreement as part of a wider deal.

"In the past two weeks, the negotiation leaders of the two sides have held serious and constructive discussions on properly resolving their core concerns and agreed to roll back the additional tariffs in stages, as progress is made towards a (final) agreement," ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a news conference. If confirmed by the US, the comments could be the latest positive signal in efforts by negotiators to formalise a partial trade deal — although details remain sparse.

Gao said if the two sides reached a phase-one agreement, tariffs should be rolled back "in the same proportion and simultaneously". "This is an important condition for reaching an agreement," he said. Chinese Vice Premier Liu = spoke by telephone with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last Friday, a call both sides described as "constructive". US President Donald Trump had planned to sign a pact with China’s Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the now-cancelled summit in Chile this month.

China jails 9 in fentanyl case

China on Thursday jailed nine people for illegally selling fentanyl to US buyers, the result of a landmark joint probe over a drug that has killed thousands of Americans. The US has long accused China of being the main source of the deadly opioid, with President Trump charging in August that Beijing had reneged on its promise to crack down on the drug. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that the US authorities blame for more than 100 deaths a day in America. The court in northern Hebei province described the case as the first successful joint probe related to fentanyl smuggling.

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