Friday, 14 December, 2018

G20 cuts pledges to 'fight protectionism' amid US-China trade war

Argentine president opens G-20 Summit G20: Trump and Xi to meet amid US-China trade tensions
Lloyd Bates | 03 December, 2018, 01:46

"China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately", the White House said.

President Donald Trump agreed to temporarily hold his next round of fire in the USA trade war with China in order to give Washington and Beijing more time to talk, the White House announced Saturday.

The White House said a threatened increase of tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25%, which was set to take effect on January 1, would be put off for 90 days.

Advocating "fair" and "reciprocal" trade, Trump has called for reducing the US trade deficit with trading partners such as China, Mexico and Japan - the first to third-biggest generators of goods trade deficit with the United States in 2017.

Washington also said that China would buy "very substantial" amounts of energy, industrial, and other goods from the U.S.in addition to agriculture products.

Xi avoids further immediate pressure on China's slowing economy, while Trump - scarred by last month's midterm elections that saw the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives - can ease damage to agricultural USA states that export to China, particularly soybean producers.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump and Xi had agreed to begin immediate trade negotiations on the stickier points of contention between the two powers, including forced technology transfer and intellectual property protection.

China and the United States agreed to halt additional tariffs in a deal that keeps their trade war from escalating as the two sides try again to bridge their differences with fresh talks aimed at reaching an agreement within 90 days.

"Trump knew that if he insisted on China giving up the 2025 plan, it would mean the breakdown of Sino-US trade negotiations", Beijing-based consultant Hua said.

The White House also says China has agreed to buy more American goods, although it did not specify how much.

Trump has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion on Chinese products.

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The White House in turn did not immediately elaborate on any details of the meeting, besides economic adviser Larry Kudlow telling reporters that the dinner went "very well".

Mr. Trump has weathered fierce criticism of his use of tariffs to force China to deal, including from the Business Roundtable.

USA officials insist that the American economy is more resilient to the tumult than China's, but they remain anxious of the economic effects of a prolonged showdown - as Trump has made economic growth the benchmark by which he wants his administration judged.

"It is hoped the agreement reached on Saturday will be implemented by the two sides and Chinese and American working teams will meet the expectations of their leaders, normalising trade relations between the countries", it said.

He said: "Xi is a coldblooded calculator of China's - and his own - interests".

In a release from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump said, "This was an wonderful and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China".

The symbolism ahead of the Xi meeting was clear: the Trump administration has looked to find common cause with both nations in countering China's regional hegemony.

Both sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods.

That the deal was done at the leaders' level also underscores a particular phenomenon of the Trump presidency.

"He may not be a friend of mine anymore but I think he probably respects me", Trump said in September.

President Donald Trump and his advisers are hailing what they called a major promise from Chinese President Xi Jinping to crack down on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid blamed for thousands of overdose deaths in the U.S.

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