China Commits But Doesn’t Promise To Cut Tariffs On U.S. Goods

Tariffs will remain
Chinese container ship (Photo: Reuters)

China is not expected to grant president Donald Trump's request it immediately removes all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products based only on Trump's decision to postpone a March 1 deadline to raise U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.

Trump's tweeted request also includes American food products not considered agriculture by the rest of the world.

According to Trump's tweet: "I have asked China to immediately remove all Tariffs on our agricultural products (including beef, pork, etc.) based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions...."

On Sunday, Trump announced he will postpone the additional tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect at on March 2.

As of today (Monday), China demands the U.S. remove the $200 billion in tariffs levied on its goods in 2018 before it will agree to a deal, said Bloomberg. In exchange, China will offer but not commit to reducing tariffs and other barriers on U.S. auto, chemical, farm, and other products.

Trump and his negotiators are again claiming great progress is being made to seal a new deal.

Analysts said China will want more concrete concessions on the part of the Americans other than Trump's gesture of goodwill. There are also political considerations in play, specifically the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Over the weekend, Canada decided to allow the U.S. extradition process of Meng to proceed.

Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. She was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December over allegations Huawei defrauded several banks, including HSBC and Standard Chartered, by concealing payments from Iran in violations of U.S. sanctions against that country.

Any trade concessions granted by China now will be seen as a sign of weakness on the part of Beijing, according to some analysts. They also noted the opening yesterday of the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee in Beijing makes it unwise for China to agree to any of Washington's demands.

On the economic front, CPPCC will be faced with the task of reaching China's goal of becoming a moderately prosperous society over the next two decades. It continues taking its cues from president Xi Jinping.

A key member of the CPPCC national committee said that if members of the committee do their jobs "and unite behind the leadership, we will be successful." He also said the CPPCC's job "is to offer some suggestions for the country and help better implement these policies."

This being the case, CPPCC isn't expected to break ranks with Xi on the issue of trade negotiations and will support all of Xi's actions.

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