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U.S., China Will Cancel Tariffs in Stages: China’s Commerce Ministry

Global markets were lifted by news that the U.S. and China will rollback additional tariffs in stages as they work toward a “phase one” deal.

At a press conference reported on by the state-owned Global Times, China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said the two countries canceling tariffs imposed on each other during the trade war is an important condition for any agreement between them. He added that this will “help stabilize market expectations, benefit the economies of the two countries and the world economy, and benefit producers and consumers.” The number of tariffs removed will be negotiated, and there was no timeline provided.

The decision comes after two weeks of constructive discussions between the two leaders where core concerns were resolved, according to Feng. The state-owned Xinhua News Agency also reported this morning that China is contemplating lifting restrictions on poultry imports from the U.S. put in place after the 2015 bird flu outbreak in the U.S..

U.S. tariffs cost China $35 billion in the first half of 2019, according to a new report from UN trade agency, UNCTAD. The hardest-hit Chinese manufacturing sector has been computers and other office machinery, and communications equipment, where exports have declined by $15 billion, according to the press release. Sixty-three percent of China’s export losses was diverted to other competitors including Taiwan, Mexico, the European Union and Vietnam.

The following chart from UNCTAD displays the evolution of the trade war that began in 2018.

Evolution of U.S. China Trade War.

Today’s developments come as a ray of hope to investors thinking there is no end in sight for the trade dispute that hurts both economies. Dow futures rose over 140 points and Europe’s STOXX 600 index jumped to its highest point in over four years.

According to a previous Reuters report, Chinese officials have been pushing for all U.S. tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods to be dropped “as soon as possible.” Reuters added that a deal could be signed next month by the presidents of the two countries at a yet-to-be-determined location.

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