A bitter trade war between the US and China has been put “on hold” as the worlds largest economies step back from the imposition of crippling tariffs.
US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said late last night the two countries were putting together a new framework to address trade imbalances.
Nothing further has been revealed on the finer details of such a framework.
A tit-for-tat row erupted earlier this year after US President Donald Trump proposed $50bn of tariffs on Chinese goods – which could be extended to $150bn. China hit back by targeting US agriculture exports.
But Mnuchin told Fox News: “We are putting the trade war on hold.
“Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to executive the framework.”
Tensions appeared to be easing on Saturday after Beijing and Washington said talks would continue in the hope of coming to an import/export accord. China would import more energy and agriculture products in order to narrow a $335bn US goods and services deficit.
While no figures were released over the weekend, earlier this month the US demanded the trade deficit be reduced to $200bn.
US officials made guarded responses to Mnuchins comments. Concerns linger not simply to the trade shortfall but to Beijings approach to cyber controls.
“If President Xi is going … to fail to take strong actions on intellectual property, cyber theft, and American companies having free access to sell goods in China … we will have lost,” said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer.
US trade official Robert Lighthizer said: “Real structural change is necessary. Nothing less than the future of tens of millions of American jobs is at stake.”