Rollback of China tariffs faces fierce opposition in White House

Bloomberg U.S. trade with China tumbled in September amid intensifying standoff

"China and the United States have agreed to cancel in phases the tariffs that were imposed during their trade confrontation", Chinese Commerce Ministry Spokesperson Gao Feng said on Thursday. A location for an upcoming meeting has yet to be determined. "It's under consideration but nothing decided", the official said. Switzerland and Sweden also emerged as candidates. Iowa, which Trump has suggested, appeared to have been ruled out, the official said.

U.S. stocks looked set to hit a fresh record high after the Chinese commerce ministry revealed that tariffs on goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars will be lifted in stages as progress is made on the deal.

Chinese officials said earlier on Thursday that tariff reductions had been agreed, and a USA official confirmed that was the case early Thursday afternoon.

"In the past two weeks, the leaders of the two sides have conducted serious and constructive discussions on properly addressing their core concerns and agreed to cancel the tariff increase in stages with the progress of the agreement", Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a press conference.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the US-China trade war will shave nearly a percentage point off of global growth this year.

China's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

An interim U.S. -China deal is widely expected to include a U.S. pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys.

But Weinberg cautioned that a trade deal isn't over the finish line, noting that the Chinese Commerce Ministry conditions the removal of tariffs on first striking an agreement. Reuters has quoted sources as saying Washington has still not made a final decision. Imports tumbled 6.4% to $170.1 billion, adding to signs Chinese demand also is cooling.

But Chinese trade expert Huo Jianguo said the move was a vindication of Beijing's long-held position on the punitive tariffs. Since Trump took office in 2017, his administration has been pressing China to curb massive subsidies to state-owned firms and end the forced transfer of American technology to Chinese firms as a price of doing business in China.

Those issues include USA claims that China forces American companies to share intellectual property as a condition for doing business in the country, as well as allegations of Chinese industrial espionage.

One Chinese official said Beijing was floating the possibility of a meeting in Greece, where Xi is due to arrive this Sunday, after which he will head to Brazil for a summit of major emerging market countries which starts on November 13.

In the latest sign of weakness, official data showed overseas shipments fell 0.9% year-on-year last month, although that was much slower than the 3.2% drop seen in September.

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