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Trump delays tariff hikes by two weeks in 'good will' gesture to China

CNBC logo CNBC 6 days ago
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Shipping containers sit in a shipping terminal at the Port of Oakland  on September 03, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 300 points on Tuesday as the United States imposed 15% tariffs on some Chinese goods this past Sunday and China also imposed new charges on products from the United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)© 2019 Getty Images OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Shipping containers sit in a shipping terminal at the Port of Oakland on September 03, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 300 points on Tuesday as the United States imposed 15% tariffs on some Chinese goods this past Sunday and China also imposed new charges on products from the United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he will be delaying the increased tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods to Oct. 15 from Oct. 1 as a “gesture of good will” to China.

Trump said the postponement came “at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary.”

The tariffs were set to increase to 30% from 25% on the goods. He is set to be in Washington for talks in early October.

U.S. stock futures jumped more than 0.5% percent after news of the delay.

President Trump wanted to double tariff rates on Chinese goods last month after Beijing’s latest retaliation in the trade war before settling on a smaller increase, sources told CNBC. He was outraged after he learned Aug. 23 that China had formalized plans to slap duties on $75 billion in U.S. products in response to new tariffs from Washington on Sept. 1.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer then enlisted multiple CEOs to call Trump and warn him about the impact such a move would have on the stock market and the economy.

He settled on a 5% hike in tariff rates on about $550 billion in Chinese products, which he announced in an Aug. 23 tweet after the market close.

In the following days, both Mnuchin and White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump’s only regret was not raising tariffs higher.

Earlier this month, Mnuchin said the U.S. and China have a “conceptual” agreement on enforcement concerns, emphasizing positive progress already made in trade talks, which are set to resume at high levels next month.

“I think the enforcement area we at least have a conceptual, an agreement on,” Mnuchin told Fox Business Network.

He also had a warning: President Donald Trump has no problem keeping heavy tariffs on Beijing if a deal can’t be reached.

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