Millions of U.S. investors and possibly quite a few Chinese officials breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday when President Donald Trump backed off his plan to impose 10% tariffs on remaining Chinese imports on Sept. 1.
Trump delayed duties on cellphones, laptops and many other consumer goods, which are typically ordered by businesses in the third quarter so they are available for holiday sales.
The news sent stocks soaring as investors piled back into retail and technology companies, and short sellers covered their positions.
But the tariffs aren’t dead.
Starting December 15, presumably after companies have stocked up for Christmas, the new tariffs will hit thousands of products including clothing and footwear.
Trump told reporters in New Jersey:
“Just in case they might have an impact on people, what we’ve done is we’ve delayed it so that they won’t be relevant to the Christmas shopping season.”
The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office announced the decision just minutes after China’s Ministry of Commerce said Vice Premier Liu He conducted a phone call with U.S. trade officials.
Liu agreed with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to speak again by phone within the next two weeks, the ministry said, and the two sides might meet again in September.
The USTR said that other products that will have tariffs delayed until Dec. 15 include “computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.”