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  • US to levy tariffs on Chinese products later than announced.

    US to levy tariffs on Chinese products later than announced. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 August 2019

“We’re doing this for the Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers,” said the U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration Tuesday delayed imposing a 10% import tariff on laptops, cell phones, video game consoles and a wide range of other products made in China, in an abrupt pull-back from a hardline stance on Chinese trade.

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The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) action was published just minutes after China’s Ministry of Commerce said Vice Premier Liu He conducted a phone call with U.S. trade officials.

“We’re doing this for the Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers,” President Donald Trump told reporters.

The delay in the tariffs that had been scheduled to start next month provides some relief to retailers.

The decision came less than two weeks after Trump said on Aug. 1 he would impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods, blaming China for not following through on promises to buy more American agricultural products.

The administration is still moving forward with 10% tariffs on much of the $300 billion of imports first disclosed in May. They published a 122-page list of products that will face tariffs beginning Sept. 1, including smartwatches.

The exemptions, combined with renewed talks with China, suggest Trump may be willing to compromise.

Other products that will have tariffs delayed until Dec. 15 include “computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing,” the USTR said in a statement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised the tariff delays and said it was “more important than ever that the two sides return to the negotiating table and recommit to achieving progress towards a comprehensive, enforceable agreement.”

The Retail Industry Leaders Association said, “removing some products from the list and delaying additional 10% tariffs on other products, such as toys, consumer electronics, apparel, and footwear, until Dec. 15 is welcomed news as it will mitigate some pain for consumers through the holiday season.”

USTR is still moving forward with tariffs on Sept. 1 on many products such as live animals, dairy products, skis, golf balls, contact lenses, motorcycle engines, lithium-ion batteries, snowblowers and various types of steel.

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