Trump's underwhelming trade truce

G20: BRICS slam protectionism as China-US trade war dominate summit

G20: BRICS slam protectionism as China-US trade war dominate summit

U.S. President Donald Trump boasted Monday of his "very strong and personal relationship" with Chinese President Xi Jinping, declaring a new U.S.

President Trump teased automakers in the USA and worldwide late Sunday with a characteristically minimalist announcement of China's apparent intention to ease its 40 percent import tariffs on US -made cars.

Trump said in exchange for the pause, China intends "to start purchasing agricultural product immediately" after saying in a late Sunday night tweet that Beijing "agreed to reduce and remove" a 40 percent tariff on USA auto imports.

The announcement comes a day after Trump sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina for negotiation talks and dinner. "But at least, a delay in tariff escalation is positive for the near-term economic outlook, and the decision keeps alive the prospect of a resolution of the US-China trade conflict".

When Beijing implemented the 40 percent rate for US imports in the summer, it also dropped its import tariff rate on vehicles from the rest of the world to 15 percent. Other issues include "structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture".

The Trump administration also said China would purchase "a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries".

But as trade tensions ratcheted up with the U.S. this summer, Beijing retaliated by slapping vehicles imported from the United States with an extra 25 per cent tariff, bringing the total tariff rate to 40 per cent.

On Saturday, Trump and Xi agreed to put a stop to their tit-for-tat tariffs row, which had roiled world markets for months.

"Both sides believe that the principled agreement reached between the two presidents has effectively prevented the further expansion of economic frictions between the two countries", he said.

Trump's aggressive trade actions left in their wake a farm industry suffering from China's retaliation, hitting soybeans especially hard, and a business sector fraught with uncertainty, facing higher costs and holding off on investment.

Trump, on Air Force One leaving Buenos Aires, told reporters that if a deal happens with China, "it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made".

If the two sides can not reach agreement over these matters within the next 90 days, the U.S. will raise tariffs. "I don't see an easy path within the 90-day window to resolve the differences they have". "Ninety days is very little time to fix these perennial issues. -China relations that both sides claim victory", said Michael Pillsbury, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a defense official under presidents including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

China's foreign ministry declined to confirm Trump's assertion on Monday, instead saying: "On December 1 President Xi and President Trump reached an important consensus on trade issues".

"With Trump himself having personally negotiated the latest deal, this one has a much greater chance of leading to a lasting truce", he wrote in a research note.

A more upbeat assessment was published in the state-owned Global Times, which is run by the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party.

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