Beijing is looking to cut tariff rates on imports from some of its major trading partners as early as October, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing two people familiar with the matter.
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The move is part of an effort to lift economic growth by boosting imports and opening its economy.
However, whether U.S. imports would be affected by the reduction remains to be seen, at a time when the tit-for-tat tariff war between the two countries gets more intense. As Bloomberg noted, World Trade Organization rules stipulate that a reduction in tariffs must be applied equally – but Beijing can also pick and choose which products to reduce tariffs on.
On Monday, the U.S. and China are scheduled to impose a new round of tariffs on one another’s imports. The Trump administration announced a new round of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, while China responded with a retaliatory tax on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.
The pair of powerhouse economies have already imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s imports.
While the new round of 10 percent tariffs does not amount to much more than a slap on the wrist for the Chinese economy, National Economic Director Larry Kudlow said earlier this week, during a talk at the Economic Club of New York, that the Chinese stock market “has had a very rough time” and “their economy is suffering quite a bit.”
The country’s benchmark stock index, the Shanghai Composite, is down 17 percent this year.
Kudlow added that the tariffs are part of Trump’s “grand strategy of negotiating,” and he did not see any reason to think the administration’s trade policies would damage the U.S. economy.