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Trump urged to reach 'phase one' trade deal with China


Washington: An American trade coalition has urged President Donald Trump to reach a "phase one" deal with China in an effort to resolve the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

"We urge you to reach a Phase One deal with China and take the necessary steps to resolve the ongoing trade dispute," the Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of more than 150 associations, said in a letter to Trump on Wednesday.

The coalition strongly encouraged the administration to suspend implementation of the so-called "Tranche 4B tariffs" on Chinese goods scheduled for December 15 if the "phase one" deal was not finalized before then.

The Trump administration in August announced a plan to put 15 per cent tariffs on billions of US dollars in Chinese-made consumer goods on December 15, known as the "4B" list of goods.

"We think it is incredibly important for the ongoing negotiations to be allowed to continue without the specter of new tariffs taking effect before a deal is signed," the letter said, adding that the US administration has previously delayed those tariffs.

"As you noted when the Tranche 4B tariffs were announced, you delayed implementation of those tariffs specifically to avoid harming American consumers over the holidays. This delay should be extended until a deal is reached," said the letter.

China is ready to work with the US side to properly address each other's core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect and strive to reach a "phase one" deal, which serves the interests of both countries and the rest of the world, China's Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said last month.

The letter came after anti-tariff campaign group, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said on Monday that American consumers and businesses paid an additional $42 billion from February 2018 through October 2019 as a result of Washington-initiated trade disputes.

Citing a research by Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC, an international trade and economic consulting firm, the coalition said the US Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods, along with the ongoing Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium and retaliation, have cost the average American family of four nearly $800 this year and have shaved 0.4 per cent off the GDP.

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