US delays tariffs on some Chinese goods, drops others

The International Monetary Fund headquarters building in Washington

The International Monetary Fund headquarters building in Washington

The U.S. Trade Representative said the new tariffs of 10%, due to kick in on September 1 would be delayed until mid-December on cell phones and other electronics products as well as some kinds of toys, shoes and clothing.

Other items facing a 10% tariff will go ahead as planned on 1 September.

The administration also announced that certain products will be permanently removed from the tariff target list for reasons of health, safety and national security.

It added: "Further, as part of USTR's public comment and hearing process, it was determined that the tariff should be delayed to December 15 for certain articles. Products in this group include, for example, cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing".

Earlier on Tuesday, China's chief trade negotiators, Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, spoke to their United States counterparts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The news sent the Dow Jones up more than 460 points in mid-morning trading.

A 4.8% jump in Apple shares and a rise in chip stocks pushed the technology sector, traditionally among the most sensitive to trade issues, 2.33% higher. The Philadelphia chip index rose 3.16%.

The USTR plans to publish a full list of the products later Tuesday.

Together, the developments revived optimism that the world's two biggest economies can make progress toward resolving a trade dispute that has rattled financial markets for more than a year and clouded prospects for the global economy.

"Its unlikely that there's going to be major deal but we might start to see some small concessions on both sides", Tom Plumb, chief investment officer of Plumb Funds, told Reuters.

Financial markets have fully priced in a rate cut at the US central bank's September meeting following a recent escalation in the bruising trade war between the United States and China. The move would likely come as a relief during the holiday shopping season, as economists say the cost of the US tariffs are passed on to American businesses and consumers.

"As usual, China said they were going to be buying "big" from our great American Farmers. Maybe this will be different!" The Nasdaq Composite was up 165.16 points, or 2.10 per cent, at 8,028.57.

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