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Trade talks continue as China reiterates need for tariff cuts

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Thursday 05 Dec 2019

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - China has reiterated a call for existing tariffs to be lowered as crucial talks between Beijing and Washington look to continue.
Negotiators from both countries are trying to secure a phase one deal. Initially expected in November, hopes were growing it would be signed in early December, thereby halting a new round of US tariffs due to be imposed on $156bn-worth of Chinese goods on 15 December.

However, at the start of the month, the White House signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law, while the US House of Representatives passed the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act 2019 bill, which calls for targeted sanctions of members of the Chinese government over the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China. Both moves have angered China, which has accused the US of violating international law.

Striking the phase one deal is a vital step in ending the increasingly damaging US-China trade war, however. Until an agreement is struck, negotiators are unable to move onto the more ambitious, but potentially more contentious, phase two talks.

On Wednesday, US president Donald Trump insisted the talks were going "very well".

But on Thursday, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman told reporters: "The Chinese side believes that if the two sides reach a phase one deal, tariffs should be lowered accordingly." He added that both sides continued to be in close communication, but did not expand further.