Feb 24, 2019 - Economy & Business

Trump delays tariff hike after "substantial progress" with China

President Trump announced that he would delay a scheduled tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese goods in a series of Sunday tweets, citing "substantial progress" in an ongoing round of U.S.-China trade talks and hinting at an upcoming Mar-a-Lago summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"I am pleased to report that the U.S. 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. As a result of these very productive talks, I will be delaying the U.S. increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for U.S. & China!"

Between the lines, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: China hawks inside the administration have long argued the administration should ratchet up tariffs on March 1 because the Chinese have given nothing they can be held to on the most important structural issues that Trump mentions in his tweets.

  • Trump's announcement will be music to Xi's ears. Over the past decades, successive Chinese administrations have mastered the art of negotiating with the U.S. government — playing for time while they continue stealing U.S. intellectual property, defying global trading rules and using government policy to accelerate their rise towards what Xi views as China's destiny: replacing America as the global superpower.
  • Global markets will likely breathe a small sigh of relief. That comes with any new data that show Trump taking a more dovish stance towards China.

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