China and the United States have agreed to cancel in phases the tariffs imposed during their months-long trade war, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, without specifying a timetable, Reuters informs.
An interim U.S.-China trade deal is widely expected to include a U.S. pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys, Reuters adds.
Tariff cancellation was an important condition for any agreement, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, adding that both must simultaneously cancel some tariffs on each other’s goods to reach a “phase one” trade deal.
“The trade war started with tariffs, and should end with the cancellation of tariffs,” Gao told a regular news briefing.
The proportion of tariffs cancelled for both sides to reach a “phase one” deal must be the same, but the number to be cancelled can be negotiated, he added, without elaborating.
“In the past two weeks, the lead negotiators from both sides have had serious and constructive discussions on resolving various core concerns appropriately,” Gao said. “Both sides have agreed to cancel additional tariffs in different phases, as both sides make progress in their negotiations.”
A source previously told Reuters that Chinese negotiators wanted the United States to drop 15% tariffs on about $125 billion worth of Chinese goods that took effect on September 1.
They also sought relief from earlier 25% tariffs on about $250 billion of imports, ranging from machinery and semiconductors to furniture.