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UPDATE: US delays, removes tariffs on major Chinese imports

The imposition of tariffs on major imports from China such as cellphones, laptops and video game consoles will be delayed by two and a half months, while other products will be removed entirely from the Trump administration's planned 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said Aug. 13.

The agency said in a statement that certain products will be removed from the tranche of tariffs slated to go into effect Sept. 1 due to "health, safety, national security and other factors."

The tariff imposition for some of the most controversial consumer products on the list, including cell phones, laptops, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors and certain items of footwear and clothing, has also been delayed until Dec. 15, the trade representative's office said.

President Donald Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One on Aug. 13 that he delayed the tariff imposition for some products because of a "very good call with China," according to pool reports.

"We're doing this for Christmas season," Trump said. "Just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers."

Those mark some of the largest products originally targeted by the tariffs on the $300 billion tranche of Chinese goods first announced in May and also some of the top consumer goods purchased during the holiday shopping season.

According to S&P Global Inc. division Panjiva, cellphones, at $43.23 billion, marked the largest product category targeted by the tariffs based on 2018 U.S. imports from China. Laptops, toys, video game consoles and computer monitors rounded out the top five largest products included over that span.

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Other products with tariffs delayed until December include microwaves, lamps, fish, high chairs, sporting goods, suits, handbags, school supplies, gloves, umbrellas and diapers, according to a list published Aug. 13 by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

However, there are still 122 pages' worth of Chinese goods that will face 10% tariffs come Sept. 1, including cheese, many types of fruit, swimwear, sweaters, types of footwear, sunglasses, dishwashers, and books.

The agency will also hold an exclusion process for products still subject to the tariff.

The move comes after the Trump administration faced criticism from a wide swath of companies earlier this summer that said the tariffs, if implemented, would spike production costs, result in job losses and result in higher direct costs for consumers who have been somewhat insulated from the crippling trade spat with China up until this point.

"It is no coincidence that the administration is allowing certain shoes to come in without raising taxes in hopes that prices do not rise at retail during the holidays," Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, said in a statement. "While we are pleased with the decision to delay tariffs on certain shoes, we are not satisfied."

U.S. and Chinese trade officials are slated to meet in early September. The U.S. has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and Beijing has retaliated with other non-tit-for-tat measures, including devaluing its yuan to offset the intended impact of making the Chinese exports less attractive.

Panjiva is a business line of S&P Global Market Intelligence, a division of S&P Global Inc.