China is seeking the rollback of US tariffs on as much as $360 billion of Chinese imports before President Xi Jinping agrees to go to the US to sign a partial trade deal with President Donald Trump, reported Bloomberg.
Negotiators asked the Trump administration to eliminate tariffs on about $110 billion in goods that were imposed in September 2019 and lower the 25 per cent tariff rate on about $250 billion that began in 2018.
Chinese officials also suggested that the US could temporarily waive some tariffs and in return, China could remove tariffs on a reciprocal amount of US goods, mostly farm products.
China has also previously demanded that Trump cancel plans to impose duties on roughly $160 billion in imports, scheduled for 15 December 2019, which would hit consumer favourites like smart-phones and laptops. At the very least, those tariffs have to be taken off the table for Xi to get on a plane to meet Trump.
The Financial Times reported earlier that US officials are debating whether to remove levies imposed in September 2019 including clothing, appliances and flat-screen monitors.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other officials have consistently argued that the duties on the $250 billion of goods are a way of making sure that China lives up to its commitments and should be in place for the long-term.
Earlier this week, Xi reiterated China’s commitment to economic openness and the global trading order at a speech in Shanghai, striking a somewhat softer tone than his address to the same conference a year ago, where he took some veiled swipes at Trump’s ‘America First’ polices.
The two presidents are working toward a face-to-face meeting to ink the first phase of a trade deal, which would include Chinese pledges on increasing purchases of US agriculture products, keeping its currency stable and protecting intellectual property.
China is reviewing locations in the US where Xi would be willing to meet with Trump. Chinese officials had initially hoped the signing would be linked to a formal state visit but they’re open to having Xi come to the US without one, adding that no final decision had been made. The decision is now between Alaska and Iowa for the signing location.