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September 16, 2019

China, United States Both Make Concessions Before October Trade Talks

Top economic officials from the United States and China are expected to resume trade talks early next month. In advance of those discussions, both nations last week announced some concessions.

On Twitter last Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that he would instruct his administration to delay an October 1, 2019 tariff increase until October 15. (Tariffs on $250 billion in products from China were to increase from 25 percent to 30 percent at the beginning of next month.) The president said the delay came at China’s request and was “due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Chinese government announced that it would exempt a handful of products from the United States from its tariffs. The exemptions, which will be effective from September 17, 2019 to September 16, 2020, will cover 16 categories of products worth about $1.65 billion. According to Reuters, President Trump said the move to lift tariffs on these products was a “big move” and a positive gesture before trade negotiators from both countries meet in Washington. (Reuters also noted, however, that the “exempted list pales in comparison to over 5,000 types of U.S. products that are already subject to China’s additional tariffs.”)

With that announcement, the Chinese government said it may announce further exemptions in the coming weeks.

As The Wall Street Journal Friday, Beijing also announced a plan to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products and suggested Chinese and U.S. negotiators “narrow the scope” of their negotiations “to only trade matters, seeking to put thornier national-security issues on a separate track in a bid to break deadlocked talks.”