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US and China halt imposing import tariffs

May 20, 2018 4:09 pm

China and the US say they will halt imposing punitive import tariffs, putting a possible trade war “on hold”.

The deal came after talks in the US aimed at persuading China to buy $200bn (£148bn) of US goods and services and thereby reduce the trade imbalance.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not give figures, but said the US would impose tariffs worth $150bn if China did not implement the agreement.

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Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He described the deal as a “win-win choice”.

He said dialogue was the way to resolve such issues and “treat them calmly” in the future.

How did the prospect of a trade war come so close?
The US has a $335bn annual trade deficit with Beijing.

Before being elected, President Donald Trump had spoken of China “raping” the US, and promised to label it a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

This did not happen, but he ordered a review of the trade imbalance last August. It found a range of “unfair” practices in China, including restrictions on foreign ownership that pressured foreign companies into transferring technology, unfair terms on US companies, Chinese investments in US strategic industries and Chinese cyber-attacks.

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