U.S. Wants to Abandon Duties on Chinese Goods
WASHINGTON, DC – January 18, 2019
U.S. officials are debating ratcheting back tariffs on Chinese imports as a way to calm markets and give Beijing an incentive to make deeper concessions in a trade battle that has rattled global economies, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The idea of lifting some or all tariffs was proposed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a series of strategy meetings, according to people close to internal deliberations. They say the aim is to advance trade talks and win China’s support for longer-term reforms.
However, the U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer did not agree with Mnuchin’s idea. He is concerned that any concession could be viewed as a sign of weakness.
The results of the ongoing discussions in Washington on this issue are now impossible to predict. Before, when discussing the Chinese issue, President Trump took the side of Lighthizer, not Mnuchin. But this time, the head of state made it clear that he wanted to make a deal, and insists that it should be made by Lighthizer.
It is hoped that the U.S.-China trade dispute will be resolved by March 1, as the parties previously agreed to postpone the introduction of new tariffs until then. The United States then promised to freeze the introduction of customs duty at a rate of 25% for 90 days instead of 10% for Chinese goods worth $200 billion.
The first trade negotiations at the level of deputy heads of trade departments in 2019 have already been held in Washington and Beijing. In December last year, Trump also noted that the dialogue on a trade deal with China is progressing “very well.”