China's president vows to cut vehicle import tariffs

China's Xi renews pledges to open economy cut tariffs this year

China's Xi renews pledges to open economy cut tariffs this year

President Xi Jinping has promised to cut China's vehicle import tariffs and improve intellectual property protection in possible concessions aimed at defusing a worsening trade dispute with Washington.

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted about the "STUPID TRADE" with China, saying that when a Chinese-made vehicle is sent to the US, the tariff is only 2.5 percent, while American cars exported to China are slapped with a 25 percent tariff.

Importantly, Xi said China will protect intellectual property rights of foreign firms, helping to address one of the key concerns the Trump administration pointed to at the start of the latest trade spat.

Xi's renewed pledges to open up the auto sector come after Trump on Monday criticized China on Twitter for maintaining 25 percent auto import tariffs compared to the United States' 2.5 percent duties, calling such a relationship with China not free trade but "stupid trade".

Xi said China would raise the foreign ownership limit in the automobile, shipbuilding and aircraft sectors "as soon as possible", and push previously announced measures to open the financial sector.

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Mr Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods worth 50 billion dollars (£35 billion) in response to complaints that Beijing pressures foreign companies to hand over technology in violation of its World Trade Organisation market-opening commitments. China has already proposed new tariffs on $50 billion of United States goods and threatened to retaliate further.

"Xi threw the ball into the USA court but it appears China is laying the groundwork to achieve an agreement with the U.S".

Foreign companies complain Beijing is squeezing them out of promising parts of the state-dominated economy to promote the ruling Communist Party's plans to create Chinese global competitors in fields including robotics, electric cars and pharmaceuticals. China also has issued a $3 billion list of US goods including pork and apples for possible retaliation. -China Business Council, which represents companies that deal with China, welcomed Xi's announcement but expressed hope for additional steps such as ending requirements for joint ventures and technology licensing.

Jake Parker, the vice president for China of the U.S.

The biggest beneficiaries of a cut in China's 25 percent tariff on most auto imports will be the small number of automakers such as electric vehicle brand Tesla that have no factory in China.

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"It goes back to the fact that there is still uncertainty on trade wars and even if we get a slight indication that it won't be the worst case scenario, the market reacts positively", he said, while predicting ongoing trade tensions throughout 2018.

Trump has often slammed China's huge surplus in the trade of goods with the United States, which reached $375 billion a year ago, according to USA data. "Xi's apparent desire to balance out his country's worldwide payments is clearly great news for countries and companies selling goods to China".

Xi sounded a conciliatory note toward neighbors with which Beijing has territorial disputes, saying China wants to pursue peaceful cooperative development.

"This is a problem caused by China, not a problem caused by President Trump", Kudlow said on "Fox News Sunday". But he stressed the need for tackling problems through dialogue rather than confrontation, warning against adopting a "Cold War mentality". "Arrogance or self-righteousness can only bump into walls at every turn". Rather than waiting weeks for the US tariffs to be implemented, Trump backed a plan by Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, to seek the enhanced tariffs. China has pledged to "counterattack with great strength" if Trump decides to follow through on that threat.

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