US, China working to delay implementation of Dec 15 tariffs

New duties would cover about US$160 bil in imports, including consumer favourites like mobile phones. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: US and Chinese officials are working on a deal to postpone a round of tariffs set to hit Chinese imports in five days, according to a media report on Tuesday.

Delaying the new duties, which cover about US$160 billion in imports, including consumer favourites like mobile phones, could help reassure markets the two sides are making progress towards ending their trade war.

Officials on both sides say they now expect to continue talking past Dec 15, when the tariffs are due to kick in, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report helped move Wall Street futures into positive territory.

US officials have reiterated that any final decision by the American camp belongs to President Donald Trump.

For two months, the two sides have struggled to finalise a partial deal that Trump announced in October.

Should the Dec 15 tariffs take effect, virtually all the merchandise the United States imports annually from China will be covered by punitive tariffs.