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 Nur Aisha Abd. Wahab
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 South China Morning Post
 Donald Trump delays US tariff rate hike to avoid escalating trade tension on China‚Äôs National Day

South China Morning Post (12/09/2019) –

·         Rise in tariff rate on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports to 30 per cent moved from October 1 to October 15

·         Delay comes the day after China exempted 16 types of US products, including medications, from import tariffs

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he will delay a planned increase in tariffs on Chinese goods at the request of Vice-Premier Liu He to avoid escalating trade tensions on China’s National Day.

The new 30 per cent tariff rate on US$250 billion worth of imports from China, from the existing 25 per cent rate, has been moved from October 1 to October 15 in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which falls on the earlier date, Trump said in a Twitter post.

Trump’s announcement came the day after Beijing unveiled a list of 16 types of products that will be exempt from the first round of China’s additional tariffs on US imports as the two sides prepare for another round of high-level trade negotiations early next month.

While the specific date of the talks has not been released, they are expected to take place before October 15, leaving room for a further postponement or even a cancelling of some tariffs if the talks in Washington produce a ceasefire.

“I think they did the right thing. I think it was good for them,” Trump told White House reporters earlier on Wednesday, referring to China’s exemptions. “But they took them off, yeah I think it was a gesture, OK. But it was a big move. People were shocked. I wasn’t shocked.”

The exemption announced by China will take effect on Tuesday and remain in place until September 16, 2020, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said in a statement a day before Trump’s latest move.

A number of medicines and insecticides are included on the list of temporarily exempted US products, while some others will be eligible for refunds on tariffs already paid.