Rollback of China tariffs faces fierce opposition in White House

China says it has agreed with US to cancel tariffs in phases

The U.S. has placed tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods amid its more than year-long trade war with Beijing.

The U.S. -China trade war that Trump began has been a drag on both nation's economies, and the leaders had initially expected to take a step toward resolving it ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections at an worldwide summit in Chile this month.

China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday that Beijing and Washington have agreed in principle to roll back existing tariffs in phases if trade talks between the two countries move forward.

On Thursday, Reuters and Bloomberg reported that a U.S. trade official had confirmed that some tariffs would be lifted, should a deal be reached.

"If the two sides achieve a "Phase 1" agreement, then based on the content of that agreement, tariffs already increased should be canceled at the same time and by the same rate", Gao said. More complex issues would be tackled in later negotiations, he said.

The two sides continue to negotiate over where and when a "Phase One" deal would be signed.

He did not give a timeline.

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Earlier this month FitBit announced it would move manufacturing operations out of China to avoid tariffs, joining a growing list of US companies that are doing the same.

China's latest push for more tariff rollbacks would be discussed, but was not expected to derail progress toward an interim deal.

That left China with a trade surplus of $42.81 billion in October, up from September's $39.65 billion surplus. They are also seeking relief from earlier 25% tariffs on about $250 billion of imports from machinery and semiconductors to furniture.

U.S. President Donald Trump had accused China of stealing ideas originating from the U.S. via patent infringement. Trump remains upbeat on the chances Beijing and Washington will seal the mini-deal he announced earlier this month - marking a cooling-off period in the two nations' damaging trade war.

Dozens of venues have been suggested for the meeting, which had originally been scheduled to take place on the sidelines of a now-canceled mid-November summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Chile, the official said. A location for an upcoming meeting has yet to be determined.

Taking down tariffs "will help stabilize market expectations, benefit the economies of the two countries and the world economy, benefit producers, and benefit consumers", Gao said.

Trump had even asked American firms to stop working with their Chinese counterparts.

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