Trump eases commercial pressure on China and US consumer

Trump eases commercial pressure on China and US consumer


Washington (AFP)

Donald Trump released the pressure Tuesday in the trade war against Beijing by delaying the imposition of punitive tariffs on a series of consumer goods, a gesture also addressed to the US consumer before the end of year shopping.

This initiative hailed with enthusiasm by markets and importers appears indeed as a gift to American consumers who feared price increases around the holidays because of tariffs.

"We are doing this for Christmas just in case it would have an impact on the American consumer," acknowledged Donald Trump, eager to point out that "for now" the taxes he imposed on Chinese imports had not "no effect". "We have postponed them (tariffs) so that they have no influence on the holidays," he added.

Chinese and American officials had a telephone interview qualified by the US president as "very productive".

The US government therefore announced to postpone to December 15 the introduction of additional tariffs of 10% on Chinese electronic products that was scheduled for September 1.

This decision, which delays by two and a half months the imposition by Washington of a large part of 300 billion dollars of Chinese imports, immediately bounced the markets.

Already $ 250 billion of Chinese goods and materials have been taxed by the Americans for a year as part of this tariff escalation aimed at forcing Beijing to change access to its market and reduce its trade surplus.

Wall Street, which had started in the red Tuesday, worried about the political crisis in Hong Kong, went back into the green, the Dow Jones gaining 1.6% around 16:30 GMT, while oil prices climbed in London and New York.

In a statement, the services of the US Trade Ambassador USTR specify that the report affects mobile phones, laptops and other gaming consoles made in China.

This postponement will relieve US importers and distributors who have a negative view of an increase in the price of their imports in September, at the beginning of the season of purchases of the end of the year.

Several stocks of companies that source largely in China jumped soon after the release of the release of the USTR: the action of the computer giant Apple, who plays big with his iPhone, and took more than 4.3% to the midday.

"We are certainly relieved that much of the goods are not affected during the holiday season," responded AFP Rebecca Mond, vice president of the Professional Toy Association. "But we would like these tariffs to disappear completely," she added.

Other products, which are related to health or safety in particular, will also be exempt from tariffs, said the USTR. The Bibles printed in China are part of it, said the administration.

This move by the Trump government comes as trade tensions between Beijing and Washington worsened when Washington officially accused China of manipulating its currency last week to gain a competitive edge on the export front.

- Phone calls -

Still late last week, the White House had appeared pessimistic about the immediate pursuit of talks with Beijing. She left a doubt about the continuation of the next meeting in Washington for negotiations in early September.

"We are not ready to sign an agreement (...) We have denounced them for manipulation (of money) We will see if we maintain our meeting in September If we do it, it's good, if we do not do it, that's good too, "US President Donald Trump said Friday.

Although the White House's initiative to delay new tariffs offers a breathing space in escalating tensions, it is unclear whether the next month's trade discussion session is being held.

The USTR said Tuesday that Ambassador Robert Lighthizer had a telephone conversation with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He who is leading negotiations for Beijing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attended the talks, an informed source said.

Another phone contact is also scheduled in two weeks.

For his part, President Donald Trump continued to reproach in a tweet to China for still not having bought American agricultural products as promised.

© 2019 AFP

ref: france24