Virus-hit China slashes tariffs on US goods

China announced a significant cut in tariffs on U.S. products worth some $75 billion, local media reported on Thursday.

According to Xinhua News Agency, China’s Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said tariffs would be cut by half “to promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations.”

It said tariffs on some U.S. products would be lowered from 10% to 5% and from 5% to 2.5%.

“China hopes both sides can follow what has been agreed in the [phase one] deal and make efforts to implement relevant parts to boost market confidence, promote bilateral relations, and help world economic growth,” China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The reduction, which will come into effect on Feb. 14, comes amid Beijing’s battle with a new coronavirus that claimed over 560 lives so far and sparked global concern.

Beijing recently lashed out at Washington for “spreading fear and panic” over the coronavirus outbreak, saying it did not extend any help in the fight against the fatal coronavirus.

The U.S.-China trade war has rattled global markets on fears it could spark a global slowdown.

The tariff cut follows last month’s phase one trade deal that has been hailed as a milestone in efforts to end the over two-year trade war between the world’s top two economies.

The phase one agreement, signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at a White House ceremony, establishes a mechanism for the parties to resolve disputes during its implementation.

At issue for Washington is its massive trade deficit with China — $378.6 billion in 2018 — and concerns over intellectual property theft, including what the Trump administration calls Beijing’s “policy of forced technology transfer.”

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