Trump to delay tariff increase on Chinese goods

Citing 'substantial progress' in US-China trade talks, president says he plans to hold summit with Chinese counterpart.

    Donald Trump, the president of the United States, has said he would delay a planned tariff increase on $200bn worth of Chinese imported goods after "substantial progress" made in trade talks with Beijing over the weekend.

    Trump also said on Sunday he planned to hold a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida-based Mar-a-Lago estate to sign a deal between the world's two-largest economies.

    In a Twitter post, he said progress had been made on a series of divisive areas, including intellectual property protection, technology transfers, agriculture, services and currency.

    As a result of the talks, he said: "I will be delaying the US increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for US & China!"

    The delay in increasing the tariffs - to 25 percent from 10 percent - was the clearest sign yet of a breakthrough the two sides have sought since calling a 90-day truce in a months-long trade war last year.

    Asian share markets rose sharply after the announcement. Investors see it as a possible sign of an end to the dispute that has disrupted commerce worth hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and prompted stark warnings about the risks to the world economy.

    "The fact that Mr Trump didn’t highlight a new deadline for tariff increase is probably a signal that further tariffs are perhaps neither necessary nor a preferred option to optimise [the] US’s interest in the current situation," said Margaret Yang, an analyst at Singapore-based CMC Markets, in a research note.

    US officials said on Friday that talks would extend into the weekend after negotiators produced a deal on currency during talks last week. Trump had already expressed optimism about the negotiations on Friday after meeting with China's Vice Premier Liu He. 

    Xi also struck a positive tone in a letter Liu delivered to Trump, saying he hoped the negotiations would be held in a "win-win" spirit that would lead to a mutually beneficial agreement.

    The Chinese president expressed hope that the talks maintain "a mutually respectful, cooperative and win-win attitude" and lead to a "mutually beneficial" agreement.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies