President Donald Trump will allow US businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic to defer payments on a limited range of import tariffs, as his administration eased its hardline posture on trade to support the economy, reported the Financial Times.
Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, and Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, announced the move late on Sunday.
“By postponing the deadline to deposit certain duties, taxes and fees for 90 days, we are providing much needed relief to affected businesses,” said Mnuchin. “This will protect American jobs and help these businesses get through this time.”
The reprieve is only partial, since it will not cover tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese imports that were imposed by Trump during a 20-month trade stand-off with Beijing that remain in place despite a truce reached in January. It also will not apply to levies imposed by the US on national security grounds against imports of steel and aluminum over the past two years.