Los Angeles, CA – The U.S. and China have reached an “understanding” on a deal that would eliminate more than 200 tariffs on certain high-tech goods.
Speaking with the media at the current Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Beijing, U.S. officials said that the quasi-agreement is yet to be finalized in detail.
They did say, however, that an agreement would include the phased-out removal of tariffs on such goods as medical devices, global positioning systems, computer software, and video game consoles.
No specific timeline was given on finalizing a broader agreement, which would have to be vetted by the World Trade Organization.
Talks on a proposed hi-tech trade deal collapsed last summer due to disagreements over what products would be covered by an expanded agreement. A finalized deal would mark the first major tariff reduction agreement by the WTO in 17 years.
According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), a new agreement would affect $4 trillion in annual trade and dismantle a tariff system that adds as much as 25 percent to the cost of imported high-tech products sold in the U.S.
“We already export over $2 billion of high-tech, high-end semiconductors, even with 25 percent tariffs,” said USTR Michael Froman. “Eliminating those tariffs will obviously expand that trade significantly. It’s an area where we have a comparative advantage, and where we can support a lot of good, well-paying American jobs.”