China said Thursday it will cut in half tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports – including crude oil — as part of efforts to implement a recently-signed trade agreement with Washington, Kallanish Energy reports.
Effective Feb. 14, China will cut tariffs on some U.S. goods to 5% from 10%, while levies on some other items, including crude, will be reduced to 2.5% from 5%, China’s Ministry of Finance said Thursday.
The tariffs were imposed last September and December during a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. The U.S. has already released plans to reduce the tariff percentage on certain imports from China, although most tariffs will remain.
Also starting Feb. 14, the U.S. will lower tariffs on roughly $120 billion in Chinese goods, including electronics and apparel, to 7.5%, from 15% currently, the U.S. trade representative’s office said Jan. 22.
The tariff cuts come amid doubts about China’s ability to follow through on the phase-one trade deal, in which it pledged to boost purchases of American merchandise and services by $200 billion over two years – including $52 billion in energy.
A coronavirus outbreak that began in China in late January and has spread to more than a dozen countries has caused a near-standstill in economic activity in the country.
Even before the outbreak, many economists and analysts cast doubt on Beijing’s ability to meet the agreement’s purchasing targets, which includes oil and gas. Now, with the health crisis threatening an already weakening economy, Beijing could find it more difficult to follow through on all of its pledges, experts say.
In a statement accompanying Thursday’s announcement, the Finance Ministry said the decision was intended to “alleviate economic and trade frictions and expand economic and trade cooperation” between the two countries. “We hope to work with the U.S. towards the ultimate elimination of all increased tariffs.”
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