With economy in crisis, U.S. lets importers delay some tariff payments

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FILE PHOTO: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discusses details for economic relief during the daily coronavirus response briefing as Small Business (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza listens at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Sunday said it would allow importers hit by the national health crisis to defer for three months any tariff payments they owe the government.

The measure aims to help businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which has put millions of Americans out of work and is widely seen pushing the economy into a deep recession.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing deferred payments to “protect American jobs and help these businesses get through this time,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Still, the tariff deferment policy does not extend to importers of goods caught up in several trade conflicts, the Treasury Department said.

Importers of some goods the Trump administration has targeted in trade disputes – including solar panels, steel, aluminum and a range of Chinese products – will still need to pay tariffs on time, the department said.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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