Trump touts trade war truce

Lester Mason
December 6, 2018

The threat of further escalation in the trade war between the world's two largest economies has loomed large over financial markets and the global economy for much of the year, and investors initially greeted the ceasefire with relief.

The Ministry of Commerce statement described the meeting with the U.S. as "very successful" and said China is "confident" of implementing the results agreed upon at the talks, but didn't provide any further details on the outcome.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that "very strong signals" were being sent by China regarding trade with the United States.

During the talks in Buenos Aires, Trump agreed to delay a scheduled escalation in U.S. tariffs on many Chinese goods, from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, that had been set to take effect on January 1. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs.

His Tuesday tweets said "The negotiations with China have already started", Trump adding that his White House team will be "seeing whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible".

The impact is actually less than that being felt in some other sectors of the USA economy, such as agriculture, but it is still a hit to the auto industry which shipped about 250,000 vehicles to China a year ago.

When asked about structural changes the United States had made as a prerequisite to any trade deal, Mnuchin said he expected some things to be implemented "on a rolling basis" in phase two.

Mr. Trump has used tariffs to force Beijing to the negotiating table over its long-standing trade abuses, including tariffs and other trade barriers, theft of intellectual property and forced transfer of technology from USA companies doing business in China.

-China trade war, only to fall sharply on Tuesday as presidential tweets and contradictory messages from senior administration officials indicated that the "deal" might be less firm than previously thought.


Meanwhile, as Trump and White House officials tout the truce, Beijing has said little on a pact that cheered markets but left many questions unanswered.

"When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man", Mr Trump said on Twitter.

Pompeo said in Brussels on Tuesday the United States could abandon some global agreements to thwart bad actors like China, which he accused of cynically exploiting World Trade Organization rules.

Kudlow called Lighthizer the "best trade negotiator in the business" and expressed confidence that he would keep China on track with its commitments.

At the same time, analysts said they were relieved that the Trump-Xi meeting at least pressed the "pause" button on tariff hikes. This fundamental misunderstanding of economics, combined with his reckless announcement of the detente that wasn't, scared investors and continues to undermine his administration's efforts at reaching a real trade deal with China. Ultimately, I believe, we will be making a deal - either now or into the future. Fentanyl, mixed in with heroin, has caused a spike in drug overdoses in the U.S.

Officials from the US and a number of other major economies have often criticized China for its slow approach to negotiations and not following through on commitments. Chinese shares closed lower on Wednesday amid similar doubts.

The US President said China was supposed to begin buying US agricultural products and others "immediately" as part of an agreement to reduce the trade imbalance between them.

The tone of Mr Trump's latest tweets shows an apparent shift from 24 hours earlier, when he was unreservedly triumphant, saying relations with China had taken a "big leap forward".

The ministry lauded Trump's talks with President Xi Jinping at the weekend as "successful" and said it was "confident" their agreement would be implemented. "It's just madness", one anonymous former official told The Post on Tuesday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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