China is moving toward cutting its trade-war tariffs on imported U.S.-made cars, a step already claimed by President Donald Trump as a concession won during trade talks in Argentina.
A proposal to reduce tariffs on cars made in the U.S. to 15 percent from the current 40 percent -- bringing the U.S. back in line with what other countries pay -- has been submitted to China’s Cabinet to be reviewed in the coming days, according to people familiar with the matter. Shares of carmakers including Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co. and Tesla Inc. rose on the news.
The step hasn’t been finalized and could still change. While reversing the retaliatory duty is a major climb-down by Beijing, it could re-focus the two sides toward implementing the trade-war truce agreed earlier this month. Relations have since been shaken by the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in connection with sanctions violations.
"Last week, events seemed to conspire to throw the truce into disarray, but the underlying incentives of both sides at the moment are to try to maintain that truce," Freya Beamish, chief Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Ltd. “Now we are seeing the possibility that China will come through with reductions of tariffs on U.S. autos and that’s another good, concrete step.”