Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

There are finally signs of concrete moves from Beijing to back up claims from the Trump administration that China has agreed to lower tariffs on cars made in the US.

President Donald Trump first tweeted that China was prepared to make the move the day after his dinner with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He told US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a phone call that China would reduce current tariffs of 40% to 15%, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares of automakers including Daimler, Ford and Tesla rallied on the headline.

The move would not represent a new concession. The 40% rate is a retaliatory measure in response to US tariffs on Chinese-made goods.

Cutting the auto tariffs to 15% would reinstitute a move that China had made back in August, when Beijing cut duties on imported cars from 25% to 15%. At the time, the decision was seen as an indirect response to trade pressures from the Trump administration.

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