China could approve Qualcomm's NXP acquisition as Trump and Xi halt tariff war

The US and China will attempt to reach an agreement on trade issues in the next 90 days.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

United States President Donald Trump has reached an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to halt any additional tariffs from being imposed as a result of their ongoing trade war.

China is further "open to approving the previously unapproved" deal for Qualcomm to acquire NXP Semiconductors "should it again be presented", after Chinese regulators prevented the transaction earlier this year.

Qualcomm had formally abandoned the $44 billion deal in late July after the deadline passed while Chinese regulators remained silent, leaving the chip giant with a $2 billion termination fee.

The meeting, which took place during the G20 global summit over the weekend, saw Trump and Xi kick off new trade negotiations with an aim of reaching an agreement within 90 days on trade issues including cyber theft, technology transfer, and intellectual property.

As a result, Trump has agreed not to increase tariffs to 25 percent on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as of January 1, and Xi agreed to purchase a "very substantial" amount of industrial, agricultural, and energy products from the US.

"It's an incredible deal," Trump said.

"What I'd be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs ... it'll have an incredibly positive impact on farming."

According to China's State Councillor Wang Yi, the agreement "effectively prevented the expansion of economic frictions between the two countries".

"Facts show that joint interests between China and the United States are greater than the disputes, and the need for cooperation is greater than frictions," he said.

Trump started the trade war with China in March, imposing higher tariffs after stating that an investigation by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had found that China was using foreign ownership restrictions to require tech transfers from US to Chinese companies, as well as conducting espionage to acquire intellectual property.

"We have a trade deficit, depending on the way you calculate, of $504 billion, now some people would say it is really $375 billion," Trump said at the time, adding that the tariffs could hit $60 billion worth of Chinese imports to America.

"Frankly, it's going to make us a much stronger, much richer nation."

Read also: Your next iPhone might cost more because of US-China trade war (CNET)

In August, US customs officials then began collecting a 25 percent import duty on 279 categories of Chinese goods valued at $16 billion, composed mostly of industrial products including steam turbines and iron girders. At the same time, China introduced its own tariffs to the same value.

Although assembled consumer goods have been mostly exempt in the tit-for-tat trade battle between Washington and Beijing, items such as glass, insulating fittings, and conduit tubing have been targeted, tipped to increase the prices of enterprise gear such as servers, networking equipment, and cooling systems.

In July, Trump similarly confirmed that punitive tariffs would be slapped on Chinese imports worth $34 billion, with China preparing retaliatory duties of 25 percent on the same amount of US products.

Trump last week additionally said that the US may proceed with new tariffs on Chinese-made consumer tech, including Apple products.

"I can make it 10 percent, and people could stand that very easily," Trump said about iPhones and Apple laptops being made in China, adding that companies should "build factories in the United States and to make the product here".

"They have to open up China to the United States. Otherwise, I don't see a deal being made. And if it's not made, we will be taking in billions and billions of dollars."

This came despite the US in September saying it would spare the Apple Watch and other consumer tech gadgets that use Bluetooth wireless communications such as the Fitbit from the tariff increase at the end of the year.

"Our concern with these tariffs is that the US will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower US growth and competitiveness and higher prices for US consumers," Apple said in a letter earlier this year.

"Tariffs increase the cost of our US operations, divert our resources, and disadvantage Apple compared to foreign competitors. More broadly, tariffs will lead to higher US consumer prices, lower overall US economic growth, and other unintended economic consequences. As a result, tariffs will ultimately reduce the economic benefit we generate for the United States."

With AAP

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