US postponement of extra tariffs good for trade talks, but not a breakthrough: experts
Published: Sep 12, 2019 11:40 AM

Photo: VCG

The US decision to postpone extra tariffs is good for the upcoming China-US trade talks, but what US President Donald Trump has done is far from enough and we should not consider it a breakthrough in trade talks, as they remain very tough, experts told the Global Times on Thursday.

Their remarks came after Trump said in a tweet on Thursday that they have agreed, as a gesture of good will, to move the increased tariffs on $250 billion in goods (25 percent to 30 percent) from October 1 to 15.

Trump explained he made the move in lieu of the People's Republic of China's 70th anniversary celebration on October 1.

The move shows the US is taking advantage of the trade talks, as the extra tariffs should not be collected at the beginning, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told the Global Times.

It may show the goodwill of the US side, but delaying the extra tariffs doesn't mean an improvement in trade talks, as they remain tough, he added. 

Other experts echoed Gao. 

"Delaying the extra tariffs is far from enough, and we cannot praise him. Only by removing the extra tariffs can he show his sincerity in trade talks," Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times.

"More importantly, we should watch what he has done and what he will do," Bai said. 

The year-long trade war between the world's two largest economies escalated in recent months. In August, Trump announced on Twitter that he will raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30 percent, up from 25 percent, starting October 1. 

He also said that the US would raise tariffs from 10 percent to 15 percent on another $300 billion products, effective September 1, after China announced it would raise tariffs on $75 billion in US goods.

In turn, the Chinese government imposed additional tariffs on some $75 billion in US imports to China, including a five percent tariff on US crude oil.

But the Chinese Commerce Ministry said last week that Beijing and Washington will strive to achieve "substantial progress" in the upcoming 13th round of trade consultations in early October in Washington.

Beijing on Wednesday announced a plan for certain US imports and companies to file for exemptions from Chinese tariffs.

The US products exempted from Chinese tariffs include 16 types related to livelihood, such as lubricating oil, medical linear accelerators and anticancer drugs.

The two sides may have reached some deal [regarding Trump's tweet on Thursday], and it is a precondition for next month's trade talks, Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times.

But it cannot be considered a breakthrough in trade talks. The trade talks will be difficult, and will take a long time, he added. 

"Trump now wants to keep the US economy healthy until next year's elections. But what if the US suffers an economic crisis; what will he do? That's something we have to consider," Mei added.