US agrees to delay tariff hike on some Chinese goods

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer (left), China’s Vice-Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States has agreed to delay increasing tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports from Oct 1 to Oct 15 “as a gesture of goodwill.”

Trump said the postponement came “at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary.”

The tariffs were set to increase to 30% from 25% on the goods.

Chinese trade deputies are expected to meet with their US counterparts in mid-September in Washington before minister-level meetings in early October in the US capital, involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The delay could enable talks to take place before the tariffs kicked in.

The world’s two largest economies imposed fresh tariffs on each other on Sept 3, ratcheting up a tit-for-tat tariff war that has unsettled financial markets and raised the spectre of a global recession.