US post­pones tar­iff hike on im­ports from China

Rome News-Tribune - - NEWS - By Joe McDon­ald AP Busi­ness Writer

BEI­JING — Buy more U.S. ex­ports? Done. Tinker with tech­nol­ogy tac­tics that irk Wash­ing­ton and other trad­ing part­ners? Maybe. But scrap those plans, seen by Bei­jing as a path to pros­per­ity and in­flu­ence? Prob­a­bly never.

The agree­ment by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his Chi­nese coun­ter­part Xi Jin­ping on a cease fire on tar­iffs post­pones the threat of more dis­rup­tion for China’s ex­porters and their Asian sup­pli­ers. Some economists said Xi might be ready to ne­go­ti­ate in earnest.

Still, Bei­jing gave no sign of a changed stance on tech­nol­ogy am­bi­tions that Wash­ing­ton says vi­o­late Chi­nese mar­ket-open­ing obli­ga­tions and might threaten U.S. in­dus­trial lead­er­ship.

Trump’s com­plaints strike at the heart of the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party’s state-led eco­nomic model and plans to re­store China to its right­ful place as a po­lit­i­cal and cul­ture leader by cre­at­ing global cham­pi­ons in ro­bot­ics and other fields.

“It’s im­pos­si­ble for China to can­cel its in­dus­try poli­cies or ma­jor in­dus­try and tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment plans,” said econ­o­mist Cui Fan of the Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nomics in Bei­jing.

At his week­end meet­ing with Xi in Ar­gentina, Trump agreed to post­pone planned U.S. tar­iff hikes on Chi­nese im­ports by 90 days while the two sides ne­go­ti­ate. The 90-day clock starts Jan­uary 1. Xi re­vived prom­ises to nar­row China’s multi­bil­lion-dol­lar trade sur­plus with the United States by pur­chas­ing more Amer­i­can ex­ports.

The out­come was “as good as we could have ex­pected,” the chair­man of the Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce in China, Wil­liam Zarit, said in a state­ment.

Also late Sun­day, Trump said on Twit­ter that Bei­jing agreed to cut im­port du­ties on U.S. au­tos. There was no Chi­nese con­fir­ma­tion of the move, which would have lit­tle im­pact on trade be­cause most Amer­i­can ve­hi­cles sold in China are made here.

Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin told re­porters at the White House Mon­day that there was an “an im­me­di­ate fo­cus on re­duc­ing auto tar­iffs,” though he did not pro­vide de­tails or tim­ing. Asked if there was a spe­cific agree­ment to re­move the tar­iffs, he said: “Yes, there was.”

/ AP-Evan Vucci

Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin talks with re­porters about trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with China at the White House on Mon­day.

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