US, China Have Not Agreed on Future Tariff Reductions – Joint Statement



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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States and China have not reached an agreement on reducing tariffs in the future although the two countries signed their landmark Phase One trade deal on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

“There are no other oral or written agreements between the United States and China on these matters, and there is no agreement for future reduction in tariffs,” the statement said, quoted by Business Insider.

On Wednesday, Trump and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He are scheduled to sign at the White House the 86-page Phase One trade agreement.

At last count, the Trump administration had imposed tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese products, while China had imposed tariffs on $185 billion worth of US goods.

Mnuchin and Lighthizer said in the statement that the details of the Phase One trade agreement would be made public at Wednesday’s signing ceremony. The only component of the agreement that will not be made public is a confidential annex with specific purchase amounts, they said, because it could influence market behavior.

US media reported earlier that the United States could lower some tariffs if China was found to be in compliance with the terms of the Phase One trade agreement.

The White House, Treasury Department and US Trade Representative’s Office declined to confirm whether a review has been set for the fall, the statement said.

As part of the Phase-One trade agreement, China will tighten intellectual property rules, increase agricultural purchases and open up its financial sector.

In return, the Trump administration agreed to cut a 15 percent tariff rate in half for $110 billion worth of products targeted in September, as well as delay planned escalations.

US Stocks

Stocks on Wall Street hit record highs before closing mixed on reports and consequent confirmation that Trump will keep US tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of Chinese imports even after the two countries sign the trade deal.

The S&P 500, the top barometer on the New York Stock Exchange, settled down 0.2 percent at 3,283 on Tuesday after racing to a record high of 3,295 earlier.

The index gave back gains after media outlets quoted senior US officials saying the administration had no immediate plans to lift the tariffs on China after the Phase One deal is signed between the two nations on Wednesday.

The S&P 500’s record high earlier on Monday came on investor optimism about the Phase One trade deal and also strong quarterly earnings posted by major US banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 0.2 percent at 9,251 after an earlier record high of 9,298. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Wall Street’s broadest equities barometer, bucked the trend on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. The Dow closed up 0.1 percent at 28,940 after a record high of 29,054, earlier in the session.

The Dow gained 23 percent in 2019 for its best performance in two years, up 1.4 percent for 2020.


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