US, China lower tariffs


United States and China have lowered tariffs on each other’s goods as part of the “Phase One” trade agreement. The cuts took effect on Friday.

But the coronavirus outbreak is raising concerns as to whether Beijing will be able to fulfill its commitments under the deal.

The agreement requires China to increase its imports of US agricultural products and other goods by more than 200 billion dollars over the next two years. It also calls on Beijing to work on intellectual property issues.

The US has cut by half the 15-percent additional tariffs it imposed on imports from China worth 120 billion dollars.
The products include liquid crystal TVs, watches and furniture.

China has halved additional tariffs of up to 10-percent imposed on over 1,700 US goods including fruit and crude oil.

But the agreement only partially resolves the two-year-long trade confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies. Most of the other additional tariffs they levied on each other’s goods will remain.

In addition, a further spread of the coronavirus could put an additional brake on China’s economic growth, leading to lower demand. That may make it difficult for Beijing to make all of its promised purchases of US goods.

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