Briefing

Trump administration delays many planned Chinese tariffs until December 15

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New tariffs have been delayed on items including smartphones, laptops and toys, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Some unspecified products have been completely taken off the tariff list based on factors like health and national security. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.41 per cent on the news in late afternoon trading. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The move comes after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a call Tuesday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to discuss trade that President Donald Trump said was a “very good call.” The tariffs, originally set to become effective on September 1, would have added 10 per cent to US$300 billion in Chinese imports that aren’t currently taxed, on top of the 25 per cent tax already on US$250 billion in Chinese imports. It’s a reprieve for China, and also for U.S. consumers, as some of the affected consumer goods are among the highest valued; cellphones and laptops make up about US$80 billion of trade to the country. Apple’s stock has also gone up 4.41 per cent on the news, as its iPhones and laptops would have been impacted by the extra tariffs. But this exemption isn’t exclusive to Apple, and several of its products remain unspared, including its Apple Watches. Those products, which Trump had originally made exceptions for in 2018, have been integral to growing Apple’s revenues amid falling iPhone sales.