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US trade coalition calls for removal of tariffs as phase-one deal with China takes effect

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-15 11:59
A US cargo ship docks at the Qingdao Port, Shandong province. [Photo by Yu Shaoyue/For China Daily]

WASHINGTON -- Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of more than 150 industry associations, has urged the Trump administration to remove all additional tariffs, as the China-US phase-one economic and trade agreement takes effect on Friday.

"It's encouraging to see some of the Phase One Deal come to fruition. American businesses, farmers, consumers, and workers certainly need these (tariff) reductions, as they have been paying the price for these tariffs since the trade war began," Jonathan Gold, spokesperson for Americans for Free Trade, said in a statement on Friday.

As part of the China-US phase-one trade deal signed last month, the US government has agreed to cut additional tariffs on roughly $120 billion worth of Chinese products from 15 percent to 7.5 percent.

China also announced last week that it would halve rates of additional tariffs on $75 billion worth of US products. Both of those tariff modifications are set to take effect on Friday.

"While this progress is a good first step, the administration must negotiate a Phase Two Deal that completely lifts all tariffs," Gold said.

An unnamed Chinese official with the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council also said last week that "it is our hope that both sides will work together toward ultimately removing all additional tariffs."

Multiple researches by American economists have showed that additional tariffs imposed by the United States against its major trading partners since early 2018 have led to higher prices, ultimately hurting the overall US economy.

Overall, Americans have paid an additional $50 billion in tariffs since February 2018 through December 2019, according to new data released by anti-tariff campaign group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland on Monday.

The US trade coalition's statement came after a survey showed Thursday that members of the US-China Business Council (USCBC) overwhelmingly view the China-US phase-one trade deal as positive for the commercial environment and bilateral relations.

Among those with a positive view, the majority believes the agreement stabilizes their bilateral relationship and prevents imminent imposition of new tariffs, according to the USCBC, which represents over 200 US companies that do businesses in China.

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