China halves tariffs on more than 1,700 US goods

Chinese officials said tariffs on some goods would be cut from to 5% from 10%, and on others from 5% to 2.5%.

The two countries have been stuck in a long-running trade war with both imposing tariffs on imported products.

A partial resolution was agreed last month with China promising to boost imported US goods by $200bn.

This latest announcement to reduce tariffs is China’s first response to the “phase one” agreement .

China’s economy has been under additional pressure this year as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to derail the economy. Factories across the country remain closed and its manufacturing sector faces a severe drop in production.

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The tariff cuts, which cover $75bn of US goods coming into China, will take effect on 14 February. Tariffs remain on a further $35bn worth of US goods.

The US will also roll back some tariffs on Chinese goods as part of the agreement.

It is being seen as a significant step towards resolving the US-China trade war. In a statement, China’s finance ministry said the aim was ”to promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations”.

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Talking about the timing of the tariff reductions, Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said: ”Perhaps they want to show goodwill and send the message that they are still committed to de-escalating trade tensions despite the coronavirus delaying the ramp-up in their imports from the US”.

Stock markets around Asia rallied on the news. Both Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei 225 both rose 2.6% following the announcement.

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