China suspends penalties on more US goods in trade truce

Trade between China and U.S. goes under tension; tariff increases

China has suspended punitive tariffs on more US goods including radar equipment for aviation amid pressure from President Donald Trump to buy more imports as part of a truce in their trade war.

The Ministry of Finance said tariff increases on 79 types of goods including radar sets, disinfectant and rare earths minerals would be suspended for one year starting on May 19.

Washington agreed in January to cancel additional tariff hikes and Beijing committed to buy more American farm exports.

US officials said China agreed to address complaints about its technology policies.

Mr Trump threatened on May 3 to terminate the agreement if China fails to buy more American goods.

The US president said earlier that Beijing agreed to buy 200 billion dollars (£162 billion) of American farm goods and other exports.

China resumed purchases of American soybeans but has yet to confirm the size of its commitment.

Mr Trump’s threat rekindled fears in financial markets of more US-Chinese conflict and potential disruption of global trade at a time when economies are reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The two sides have raised duties on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s imports in a dispute over China’s technology ambitions and trade surplus.

Slumping economic activity due to coronavirus has prompted suggestions China might be unable to carry out commitments to boost imports.

Last week, US and Chinese trade negotiators promised to create “favourable conditions” for carrying out the truce, China’s government announced.

The two sides gave no timeline for more talks.

Tuesday’s announcement was the third Chinese tariff cut since the January agreement.

Beijing announced on February 6 it would reduce duties on 75 billion dollars (£60 billion) of US goods.

It followed up by rolling back penalties on a list of goods that included medical and industrial machinery.

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