BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – China and the United States agreed to halt additional tariffs in a deal that keeps their trade war from escalating as the two sides try again to bridge their differences with fresh talks aimed at reaching an agreement within 90 days.
The White House said on Saturday that President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping during high-stakes talks in Argentina that he would not boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Jan 1 as previously announced.
Beijing for its part agreed to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, the White House said in a statement.
The two sides would also launch new trade talks to address issues including technology transfer, intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, cyber theft and agriculture, it said.
If no deal is reached within 90 days, both parties agreed that the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent, the White House said.
On Sunday, China’s state-run media lauded the “important consensus” reached by the two leaders but did not mention the 90-day deadline.
Mr Trump imposed 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in September. China responded with its own tariffs.
Mr Trump has also threatened to put tariffs on another $267 billion worth of Chinese imports, as the relationship appeared set to worsen in the weeks ahead of the Argentina meeting.
“I think this is not a breakthrough – it’s more of avoiding a breakdown. This is not a worst case outcome but the hard work is ahead of them,” said Paul Haenle, Director at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center in Beijing.
“The Chinese have to come into (the talks) with a sense of urgency,” he added.