China and U.S. easing off tariffs with 'Phase 1' trade deal

Outdoor Industry Association and Snowsports Industries America hope Trump's dealings with China signal "beginning of the end."

Trump talks trade with China's Vice Premier, Liu He
President Trump talks trade with China’s vice premier, Liu He, in May 2018.Wikimedia Commons

Should negotiations between China and the U.S. stay on track, outdoor businesses could be spared from multiple tariff hikes over the next two months.

On Friday, President Donald Trump announced that he had reached “phase one” of a trade deal with China, one that includes a halt of a 5 percent tariff increase (25 to 30 percent) on $250 billion worth of goods expected Tuesday. It could also mean that businesses are spared from an additional round of threatened tariffs on Dec. 15.

“The announcement of the first phase of a trade deal between the U.S. and China brings the outdoor industry a Halloween season treat and is a positive and necessary step forward, particularly if it delays tariff increases set to go into effect this month and new tariffs set to start in December on outdoor products,” Outdoor Industry Association‘s Patricia Rojas-Ungar said.  

Full details of the agreement aren’t available yet, but Trump said it involves Chinese enforcement of American intellectual property—a point that started the trade war. He said it also includes requiring China to buy up to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products. The first phase could be signed in November during Trump’s meeting with Xi Jinping.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step towards avoiding the unnecessary tariffs and the ensuing financial burden and uncertainties that will be felt throughout our industry,” Snowsports Industries America President Nick Sargent said. “But it’s just a pause. With the winter season almost upon us, I hope that today creates the momentum we need to finally end this trade war by removing all the tariffs, and letting all of us get back to growing our businesses.”

The outdoor industry is cautious, but hopeful, given Trump’s track record. In August, he was pushing American businesses to withdraw manufacturing from China after China imposed retaliatory duties.

“We urge the Administration to let this agreement serve as the beginning of the end of the trade war that for months has been wreaking havoc on American outdoor industry businesses, jobs and consumers,” Rojas-Ungar said. “Now is the time to conclude a comprehensive deal with China that immediately lifts all punitive tariffs.”