‘China wants US tariffs rolled back in phase one trade deal’

The signing of a phase one agreement may not take place until the new year as Beijing has pressed for more extensive rollbacks of tariffs. (Reuters/File)
Updated 01 December 2019

‘China wants US tariffs rolled back in phase one trade deal’

  • Continued uncertainty on whether the two sides can strike an agreement grips investors

WASHINGTON: Beijing is insisting US tariffs must be rolled back as part of any phase one trade deal with Washington, China’s Global Times newspaper said on Sunday citing unnamed sources, amid continued uncertainty on whether the two sides can strike a deal.

“A US pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15 cannot replace the rollbacks of tariffs,” the newspaper said in a tweet, referring to an additional round of tariffs on Chinese imports to be implemented in the absence of a trade deal.

The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said Washington was in the “final throes” of a deal aimed at defusing a 16-month trade war with China, a few days after Chinese President Xi Jinping had expressed his desire for a trade agreement. Top trade negotiators for both countries also spoke again and agreed to continue working on the remaining issues.

Trade experts and people close to the White House told Reuters last month, however, that signing of a phase one agreement may not take place until the new year as China pressed for more extensive rollbacks of tariffs. An agreement was initially expected to be completed by the end of November.

Chuck Grassley, chairman of the US Senate finance committee, told reporters on Tuesday that China invited US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for in-person talks in Beijing.

Grassley said Lighthizer and Mnuchin were willing to go if they saw “a real chance of getting a final agreement.”

A source familiar with the trade talks also told Reuters that US officials could travel to China after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday in the US.


Virus sees Booking.com slash quarter of global staff

Updated 04 August 2020

Virus sees Booking.com slash quarter of global staff

  • The company warned that “up to 25 percent” of employees could go in what it called an “extremely difficult step”
  • Booking.com’s Amsterdam headquarters was expected to be among the sites affected

THE HAGUE: Online travel agency Booking.com said Tuesday it will cut up to a quarter of staff worldwide due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leading to thousands of job losses.
The Amsterdam-based booking site, which employs around 17,500 people around the world, declined to give an exact number of posts that will be slashed, saying details would become clearer “in the coming weeks and months.”
But it warned that “up to 25 percent” of employees could go in what it called an “extremely difficult step.”
“The Covid-19 crisis has devastated the travel industry, and we continue to feel the impact as travel volumes remain significantly reduced,” the company said in a statement sent to AFP.
“While we have done much to save as many jobs as possible, we believe we must restructure our organization to match our expectation of the future of travel,” it added.
Booking.com’s Amsterdam headquarters was expected to be among the sites affected, Dutch media reports added.
Hard-hit by the slowdown in international travel resulting from the lockdown, Booking.com follows in the footsteps of other digital travel sites such as Airbnb and TripAdviser, which have also laid off around 25 percent of their workforce.
Booking.com applied in April for state support.
Last month it received some 61 million euros ($71.8 million) from the Dutch state, making it the third-largest recipient of support behind flagship airline KLM and Dutch Rail (NS), the ANP national news agency reported.
Founded in 1996, Booking.com has some 28 million listings on its website which is available in 43 languages.