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Trade talk movement as China agrees to slash tariffs on US auto imports from 40 to 15 per cent, report says


Beijing takes first step in rejuvenated trade negotiations after the Trump-Xi dinner in Buenos Aires, according to Wall Street JournalBut a commitment to keep trade talks quarantined from other disputes is likely to be tested by other events
Beijing has agreed to lower import tariffs on US-made autos from 40 per cent to 15 per cent, the first measurable action to come out of the meeting between US President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping on December 1, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The commitment was communicated in a call on Monday among Liu He, the Chinese vice-premier and designated lead trade negotiator, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, The Journal said, citing an unnamed source.
Opening up a new round of discussions aimed at bringing an end to the trade war, the call was described by China’s ministry of commerce as an exchange of views about a time frame and road map for “realising the consensus agreed upon at the summit of the countries’ leaders” after the recent G20 meeting in Argentina.
Reducing auto tariffs was not mentioned in official statements from Beijing after the dinner meeting in Buenos Aires, though Trump tweeted the next day that China had “agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the US”.
The Treasury Department and Office of the United States Trade Representative did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
American auto exports to China fell sharply after tariffs were imposed in early July in retaliation for Trump’s 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese imports.
The export value of vehicles in August stood at just over US$460 million, down 55 per cent on the same monthly figure for 2017, according to US census figures.

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