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China and US agree on tariff 'truce' that could avoid tech price hikes

They hope to address tech transfers and other disputes within 90 days.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 2, 2018
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AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

If you were worried that some technology prices would go up (among other things) as a result of incoming US tariffs on Chinese goods, you can breathe a little easier -- for now. The US and China have agreed to a tariff "truce" that will give the two sides time to negotiate without the US imposing further tariffs. The Americans will leave their tariffs at the 10 percent rate on January 1st, 2019, rather than raising it to 25 percent. The countries will have 90 days to hash out their differences on issues like intellectual property theft and patents -- if they can't reach a deal when those 90 days are over, the tariffs go up.

As part of the truce, China agreed to buy a "very substantial" amount of products from the US, including energy and industrial goods.

The newly postponed tariffs aren't supposed to affect every category. Products like smartwatches and connected speakers won't be affected regardless of how successful the negotiations may be. However, this could still delay (or ideally, avoid) significant price hikes for many of the devices you buy. If you were rushing your purchase plans based on the threat of new tariffs, you can relax for a little while.

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