US President Donald Trump has postponed for 15 days the increase in customs duties on almost half of imports from China, in a rare gesture of "goodwill" that precedes a new round of negotiations.
Trump said he had acceded to the request of Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He, who leads the Chinese delegation in negotiations with the US, to postpone the rate increase from 25% to 30% to $ 250 billion for two weeks. of goods imported from China.
The rise was originally scheduled for October 1, but the US president said Beijing wanted to prevent it from coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
Washington's decision came after China announced on Wednesday that some US industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals would be exempt from retaliatory customs duties in the trade war with Washington.
Reciprocity must thus lighten the mood on the eve of delegations from both countries meeting again in Washington to discuss an agreement that will end trade disputes.
Beijing and Washington have already raised customs duties on hundreds of millions of dollars of goods from both countries in a trade war that began more than a year ago.
A first period of truce collapsed in May after Trump accused the Chinese side of backing off earlier promises.
The following month, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping negotiated a new truce, which lasted less than two weeks, with the US leader announcing further customs duties after Beijing declined to resume buying northern agricultural products. -Americans.
This time, the list of US products that will be exempt from retaliatory charges by Beijing as of October 17, and for a year, includes 16 categories: pesticides, lubricants, pharmaceuticals or industrial grease.
However, Beijing will maintain customs duties of up to 25% on US soybeans and other agricultural products.
Taxes on agricultural products, and soy in particular, are a way for Beijing to directly penalize Trump, as it is in rural America that many of its voters are concentrated.
At the heart of the trade war is Beijing's technology policy, which aims to turn China's state-owned firms into major global players in high-value-added sectors such as artificial intelligence, renewable energy, robotics and electric cars.
The US considered that the Chinese-led plan violates China's commitments to open up its market, notably by forcing foreign companies to transfer technology and subsidizing domestic companies while protecting them from foreign competition.