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China, US trade negotiators had phone talks, US delays tariffs on some Chinese goods

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He conducted a phone call with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said China’s Ministry of Commerce in a statement on Tuesday.

China has lodged solemn representation on a US proposal to raise tariffs on Chinese goods from September 1, the statement said. Officials from China and the United States plan to talk again on the phone within two weeks, the statement said.

US President Donald Trump said his administration had a “very productive” call with China and that he thinks Beijing wants to “do something dramatic” on trade. “They really would like to make a deal,” Trump said Tuesday before boarding a helicopter in Morristown, New Jersey. He said the call took place on Monday.

Earlier on the day, the Office of the US Trade Representative said the US will delay 10 per cent tariffs on certain Chinese products, including laptops and cell phones, that had been scheduled to start next month.

Other products whose tariffs will be delayed until Dec. 15 include “computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing,” the USTR said in a statement. A separate group of products will also be exempt altogether “based on health, safety, national security and other factors,” it added.

President Trump said the government decided to delay tariffs on some Chinese imports until mid-December to avoid hurting US shoppers heading into the Christmas holiday. “We’re doing this for the Christmas season” to avoid any adverse impact on US shoppers, Trump told reporters as he prepared to leave New Jersey for an event in Pittsburgh.

Trump also cited China for not following through with expected large purchases of US agricultural products but appeared hopeful that Beijing’s stance could change.

“As usual, China said they were going to be buying ‘big’ from our great American Farmers. So far they have not done what they said. Maybe this will be different!” Trump tweeted. His comments come after his administration delayed a 10 per cent tariff on certain Chinese imports, including technology products and clothing, until mid-December.

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