U.S., China declare 90-day halt to new tariffs, White House says

BUENOS AIRES - China and the United States have agreed to halt additional tariffs as both nations engage in new trade negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days, the White House said on Saturday after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held high-stakes talks in Argentina.

Trump agreed not to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Jan. 1 as previously announced, while Beijing agreed to buy an unspecified but "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, the White House said in a statement. China "is open to approving the previously unapproved" deal for U.S. company Qualcomm Inc to acquire Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors "should it again be presented."

In July, Qualcomm - world's biggest smartphone-chip maker - walked away from a $44 billion deal to buy NXP Semiconductors after failing to secure Chinese regulatory approval, becoming a high-profile victim of the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

The White House said that if agreement on trade issues including technology transfer, intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, cyber theft and agriculture has not been reached with China in 90 days that both parties agree that the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.

Trump slapped 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods in September. China responded by imposing its own round of tariffs. Trump has also threatened to add tariffs on another $267 billion of Chinese imports.

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Trump joins leaders of Canada, Mexico to sign new trade pact
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Trump joins leaders of Canada, Mexico to sign new trade pact
President Donald Trump, center, reaches out to Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, left, and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they prepare to sign a new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that is replacing the NAFTA trade deal, during a ceremony at a hotel before the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. The USMCA, as Trump refers to it, must still be approved by lawmakers in all three countries. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Neto, left, participate in the USMCA signing ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Neto, left, participate in the USMCA signing ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Neto, left, participate in the USMCA signing ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
El presidente Donald Trump, el primer ministro de Canadá Justin Trudeau, a la derecha, y el presidente de México, Enrique Peña Neto, a la izquierda, participan en la ceremonia de firma de la USMCA, el viernes 30 de noviembre de 2018 en Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Foto / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, center, smiles as he speaks next to Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, applauding, before they sign a new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that is replacing the NAFTA trade deal, during a ceremony at a hotel before the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. The USMCA, as Trump refers to it, must still be approved by lawmakers in all three countries. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Mexico President Enrique Pena Neto, left, as Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, looks on after participating in the USMCA signing ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Neto, left, walk out after participating in the USMCA signing ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks as President Donald Trump looks on before they sign a new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that is replacing the NAFTA trade deal, during a ceremony at a hotel before the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. The USMCA, as Trump refers to it, must still be approved by lawmakers in all three countries. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
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Xi agreed to designate the drug fentanyl as a controlled substance, the White House said. For more than a year, Trump has raised concerns about the synthetic opioid being sent from China to the United States, which is facing an epidemic of opioid-related deaths.

China also agreed to start purchasing agricultural products from U.S. farmers immediately, the White House said.

U.S. companies and consumers are bearing part of the cost of the U.S. tariffs on China by paying higher prices for goods, and many companies have hiked prices on imported goods. At the same time, U.S. farmers have been hurt by reduced Chinese imports of soybeans and other products.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham)

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