The White House trade office announced Tuesday it would delay tariffs on certain Chinese goods until mid-December and exempt others from a new round of import taxes.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement it would delay tariffs on “cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing,” until Dec. 15.
The agency also said it would remove an unspecified number of items from a list of Chinese products that will be subject to a 10 percent tariff starting Sept. 1.
“Certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs,” the USTR said.
The full list of exempted products will be released later Tuesday, the office added.
The White House decision to narrow the scope and somewhat weaken the blow of President Trump’s escalating trade war with China comes after weeks of deepening anxiety about the state of the global economy.
Economists at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Moody’s Analytics have warned in the past week of the rising chances of a recessionbetween now and the 2020 elections, blaming Trump’s trade policy in part.
The British economy shrank for the first time since 2012 in the second quarter, according to data released last week, while growth in China slowed to its lowest level in nearly three decades.
U.S. businesses and farmers have pleaded with Trump for relief amid the rising costs and tensions of a trade war with China that began in July 2018. Retailers warned that new tariffs on a slew of consumer goods could lead to layoffs, store closings and price increases ahead of the holiday shopping season.
The products subject to the delayed tariffs include items likely on holiday gift lists, giving a boost to the critical consumer spending sector. Roughly 70 percent of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending, and several retail stores and chains depend on booming holiday sales for annual profits.
The delay was welcome news to Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 500 points on the news after closing 400 points lower Monday. Shares of Apple, which manufactures laptops and cellphones in China, grew 5 percent.