What the initial U.S.-China trade agreement means

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Friday the United States and China announced a partial deal to deescalate the trade war.

Friday the United States and China announced a partial deal to deescalate the trade war.

The United States and China reported progress in trade negotiations, announcing a partial deal to deescalate the trade war on Friday.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the development, though several news outlets were more skeptical.

The Trump administration said it would forgo a planned increase in tariffs to 30 percent from 25 percent on $250 billion in annual imports from China scheduled to take place today, according to the NMMA. That would be in exchange for Beijing drastically increasing imports of American crops, according to The Hill.

However, a tariff hike implemented in September was not rolled back and plans for another hike just before the Christmas holiday on Dec. 15 remain in place, according to CNBC.

Washington and Wall Street are reacting with caution to the announcement; Beijing hinted that it needs time to finalize the terms amid criticism that the agreement doesn’t address Trump’s broader trade deal priorities, The Hill reported.

Chinese state media appeared cautious about celebrating the partial U.S.-China trade deal, and warned Washington to “avoid backpedaling,” according to CNBC.

“While the negotiations do appear to have produced a fundamental understanding on the key issues and the broader benefits of friendly relations, the Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least until the two presidents put pen to paper,” wrote China Daily on Sunday.

NMMA said it is cautiously optimistic by the development, noting that the deal is a positive step forward, but acknowledged that more work is needed to resolve all trade-related challenges facing the industry. According to the NMMA, the goal is for the U.S. and China to come to a final deal that removes all tariffs as quickly as possible.

For now, the Trump administration intends to move ahead with a 15 percent tariff on nearly $160 billion worth of Chinese goods starting Dec. 15. That list includes life jackets, personal floatation devices, and fishing gear and tackle.


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