“The trade war started with tariffs, and should end with the cancellation of tariffs,” China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said.
China and the United States have agreed to roll back sanctions on each others’ goods as part of the first phase of a trade deal, officials from both sides said Thursday, although amounts nor timelines have been discussed.
The Chinese commerce ministry, without laying out a timetable, said the two countries had agreed to cancel the tariffs in phases. “The trade war started with tariffs, and should end with the cancellation of tariffs,” Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a press meeting.
The proportion of tariffs canceled for both sides to reach a “phase one” deal must be the same, but the number to be canceled can be negotiated, he added.
On Thursday the General Administration of Customs of China and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said the country is currently considering removing restrictions on poultry imports from the U.S. China has banned all U.S. poultry and eggs since January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak.
In a series of conciliatory measures, Trump last month agreed to suspend a tariff hike scheduled for Oct. 15 on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports, and in return, the Asian nation agreed to buy US$40 to US$50 billion in U.S. farm products.
Yet officials on both sides said then that much work needed to be done before the pact would be finalized. If it is completed, it is widely expected to include a U.S. pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on about US$156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers, and toys.
Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had been expected to ink the agreement at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile from Nov. 16-17, but those plans were thrown into disarray when Chile, due to the social and political crisis facing, withdrew as host of the meeting.
A deal may be signed this month by Trump and Xi at a yet-to-be-determined location. One possible location was London, where the leaders could meet after a NATO summit that Trump is due to attend from Dec. 3-4.
According to the new International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva, the 15-month long trade-war could cost an increasingly fragile global economy about US$700 billion, or 0.8 percent of GDP, by 2020; and it is already taking a toll on both countries’ economies.