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Trump postpones tariff hike on Chinese imports

President Donald Trump on Sunday announced that he was “delaying” raising tariffs on hundreds of Chinese import products, a hike that had been scheduled for March 1, due to the “substantial progress” being made in the bilateral trade talks being held in Washington.

“I am pleased to report that the US has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues,” Trump said on his Twitter account, Efe news reported.

“As a result of these very productive talks, I will be delaying the US increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi (Jinping) and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for US & China!” the US President added in a subsequent tweet.

Trump’s administration had set March 1 as the deadline whereby a trade deal had to be reached in the US-China talks or else Washington would hike tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on some $200 billion in yearly imports of Chinese goods.

The trade talks held this past week between the US delegation headed by Foreign Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and China, led by Vice Premier Liu He – talks originally scheduled to conclude on Friday – were extended by two days as a result of the two parties’ optimism that further progress could be made.

On Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said that a Mar-a-Lago summit between Trump and Xi was being tentatively planned for late March.

The trade war between the world’s two biggest economies was sparked by Trump’s aggressive protectionist stance and has generated uncertainty and volatility in international financial markets for months.

Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have lowered their forecasts of global economic growth as a result of the trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The US and China have been holding rounds of talks in the two nations’ capitals over recent weeks with an eye toward striking a trade pact, as discussed by Trump and Xi during their dinner in Buenos Aires on December 1.

At the time, the leaders agreed to postpone escalating the trade war for 90 days while their administrations negotiated to establish common positions on assorted issues.

China has offered to buy an additional 10 million metric tons of American soybeans, according to a Twitter post by US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday.