China confident it can clinch USA trade pact, Trump demands 'real deal'

Shanghai skyline at night. Source Shutterstock

The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Buenos Aires provides direction for China-U.S. relations in the time to come, according to experts. 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.

"Teams from both sides are in contact and cooperating well, we are fully confident that we can reach an agreement in the coming 90 days", Gao said, without providing more specific details about what actions China will take.

Beijing is to start quickly implementing specific items where there is consensus with the U.S. and push forward on trade negotiations within the 90-day "timetable and road map", the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement yesterday morning.

Trump has threatened to tax imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that previous year totaled $335 billion, and the European Union had warned that it would retaliate with tariffs on products worth $20 billion if Trump put duties on cars and auto parts from Europe. Stocks sank across the world, in part over fear that an escalation in tariffs would choke off economic growth and possibly send a global slowdown into a recession.

Chinese officials have said they are "confident in implementing" trade commitments made to the U.S. "as soon as possible", without giving details.

Trump and Xi said they would hold off on imposing additional tariffs for 90 days starting on December 1 while they sought to resolve their trade disputes that have seen the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods disrupted by tariffs. China's crude oil imports from the US had ground to a halt.

Chinese officials have been told to take necessary steps for the soybeans and liquefied natural gas purchases, according to two officials with knowledge of the discussions.

Trump has argued that China for decades has abused global trade rules to lure away United States jobs, steal USA intellectual property, subsidise its own companies, and strong-arm U.S. firms.

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Senior US and EU officials blamed each other on Wednesday (17 October) for a lack of progress in ongoing trade talks, reviving the possibility of fresh tariffs on European cars, said the American representatives.

China has said it will immediately implement measures agreed under a trade war "truce" with the US.

But by Tuesday morning, Trump was renewing his tariff threats in a series of tweets.

Trump, in a post on Twitter, linked Beijing's silence to officials' travels and said he thought Xi had been honest during their weekend meeting to hammer out progress over trade.

"President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will", Trump said in a post on Twitter. The two countries have now agreed to a 90-day truce to work out a broader trade deal.

But as part of the truce agreed to by Mr Xi and Mr Trump, the USA will not raise tariffs further on Jan 1, so further talks can take place. USA officials believe that China's regulators nixed the deal not for reasons of antitrust, but because China is desperate to make its own chips and views any strengthening of Western chipmakers with alarm. He said his "expectation" is that China might roll back tariffs on goods "quickly".

The president's words had the effect of making the weekend agreement, already a vague and uncertain one, seem even less likely to produce a long-lasting trade accord.

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