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China Suspends Tariff Hikes on US Cars 12/14 06:32

   China announced a 90-day suspension on Friday of tariff hikes on $126 
billion of U.S. cars, trucks and auto parts following its cease-fire in a trade 
battle with Washington that threatens global economic growth.

   BEIJING (AP) -- China announced a 90-day suspension on Friday of tariff 
hikes on $126 billion of U.S. cars, trucks and auto parts following its 
cease-fire in a trade battle with Washington that threatens global economic 
growth.

   The suspension is China's first step in response to President Donald Trump's 
Dec. 1 agreement to suspend U.S. tariff hikes for a similar 90-day period while 
the two sides negotiate over American complaints about Beijing's technology 
policy and trade surplus.

   China has indicated it plans to move ahead with the talks despite strains 
over the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Canada to face possible 
U.S. charges related to a violation of trade sanctions on Iran.

   Beijing will suspend a 25 percent import charge on $66 billion of cars and 
trucks and a 5 percent charge on $60 billion of auto parts, effective Jan. 1, 
the Finance Ministry announced.

   The announcement helped give substance to Trump's agreement with his Chinese 
counterpart, Xi Jinping, after prolonged uncertainty caused jittery global 
financial markets to swing wildly.

   The Chinese penalties were imposed in response to Trump's decision to slap 
25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods and a 10 percent charge on 
another $200 billion. The second tariff was due to rise Jan. 1 until Trump 
agreed to the postponement.

   The United States and other trading partners complain that Beijing steals or 
pressures companies to hand over technology in violation of its market-opening 
obligations. American officials also worry Chinese industry plans that call for 
state-led creation of global champions in robotics and other fields threaten 
U.S. industrial leadership.

   A spokesman for China's Commerce Ministry, Gao Feng, said Thursday the two 
sides were in "close contact" but gave no timetable for possible face-to-face 
negotiations.

   Economists say 90 days probably is too little time to resolve conflicts that 
have bedeviled U.S.-Chinese relations for years. They say Beijing's goal 
probably will be to show it is making progress so Trump extends his deadline.

   Beijing officials expressed confidence China could withstand U.S. pressure 
but the fight battered consumer confidence and threatened export industries 
that support millions of jobs.

   Friday's announcement "shows the Chinese government is willing to solve 
trade disputes through consultation based on equality," said Song Lifang, an 
economist at Renmin University in Beijing.

   The tariff cut lowers the charge for U.S.-made cars and trucks to 15 
percent, the same level as imports from other countries.

   "If the United States cuts or remove tariffs on Chinese goods, China will 
surely follow up with further relevant measures," Song said.


(KA)

 
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