WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday backed off his Sept. 1 deadline for 10% tariffs on remaining Chinese imports, delaying duties on cellphones, laptops and other consumer goods, in the hopes of blunting their impact on U.S. holiday sales.
The delay which, affects about half of the $300 billion target list of Chinese goods – along with news of renewed trade discussions between U.S. and Chinese officials – sent stocks sharply higher and drew cautious relief from retailers and technology groups.
Trump’s 10% tariffs will be effective from Dec. 15 for thousands of products including clothing and footwear, possibly buttressing the holiday selling season from some of the fallout from the protracted trade spat between the world’s two largest economies.
“We’re doing this for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers,” Trump told reporters in New Jersey. “Just in case they might have an impact on people, what we’ve done is we’ve delayed it so that they won’t be relevant to the Christmas shopping season.”
The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office announced the decision just minutes after China’s Ministry of Commerce said Vice Premier Liu He conducted a phone call with U.S. trade officials.
Liu agreed with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to speak again by phone within the next two weeks, the ministry said.
Trump has said the two sides may still meet in early September as scheduled.
The delay in tariffs on a substantial portion of a $300 billion list of remaining Chinese imports sent U.S. stocks surging, after steep losses in the past week, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 .SPX up 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC gaining nearly 2%.
Shares of market bellwether Apple Inc (AAPL.O) soared