U.S. government delays tariffs on phones, laptops and video game consoles

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The USTR's announcement comes amid growing concerns about a global economic slowdown. It's possible China has chose to bear the pain of Trump's trade war for the next 15 months and hope Trump loses the 2020 election.

Karl Schamotta, market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments says the move is clearly designed "to alleviate pressure on American consumers as they head into a critical holiday-punctuated election season".

The Australian Dollar is among the best performing currencies during Tuesday's trading session owing to the latest surge in risk assets.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced on Tuesday that 10% tariffs on certain popular consumer items - including cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, computer monitors and some toys, shoes and clothing - will be postponed until December 15.

The delay incited an instant sign of relief for manufacturers and retailers. "It definitely saves the holiday season".

The tariffs will now be pushed back to December 15, and other, unspecified products are being totally removed from the tariff list "based on health, safety, national security and other factors".

About US$250 billion of Chinese goods have already been hit by 25 per cent duties.

In the press release the USTR said it will specify which items are affected by the delay.

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Still, the best possible outcome, he said, would be a "mini-deal" in which China agrees to buy more American products and narrow the gaping USA trade deficit with China. -China trade tensions. The relief might prove only temporary, though, if the tariffs eventually take full effect and Beijing retaliates against US exports.

The US trade representative's office action was published just minutes after China's ministry of commerce said Vice Premier Liu conducted a phone call with US trade officials. Another call will take place in two weeks, the spokesman said.

Shortly after the announcement, Trump criticized China, claiming it has not lived up to the promises it has made during trade talks. "Maybe this will be different!", Trump tweeted.

The delay, combined with renewed talks with China, suggest Trump may be willing to compromise. USA importers can apply for tariff exemptions. "Still, continued uncertainty for US businesses and consumers is a drag on the economy". Major US tech companies including Apple were among the biggest risers.

Separately, China's Ministry of Commerce reported that top Chinese negotiators spoke by phone with their US counterparts, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and plan to talk again in two weeks. A Bloomberg News August survey of economists gave a 35 per cent probability of a recession in the next 12 months, up from 31 per cent previously.

Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, remained disapproving of the Trump administration's "destructive plan" to impose tariffs on consumer goods as well as materials used by American manufacturers.

Despite the exchanges between the USA and Chinese negotiators, the prospects for negotiations remain dim.

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