Doubts on the rise about the US-China ceasefire

Ivan Schwartz
December 5, 2018

Trump warned that although he and Xi want to get to an agreement "remember, I am a Tariff Man".

Trump raised the stakes on those pledges, saying in a tweet that he expects China to start buying more agricultural products "immediately".

The US promised to delay the increase of its tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods by 90 days.

Regarding the China trade deal, White House officials have struggled to explain, for example, whether China has actually agreed to drop its 40% tariffs on USA autos.

In a series of tweets, Trump celebrated the opening of negotiations between China and the US. The White House's official statement says nothing of the sort; it only says the USA will hold negotiations with China on the latter's "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture".

Per China, "Trump said the USA side welcomes Chinese students to study in his country". He acknowledged that Chinese leaders have stopped short of following through on deals in the past, but he said he believed the involvement of Xi in the discussions Saturday would lead to a different outcome.

Trump's economic team has spun his knee-jerk protectionism as a tactic created to negotiate "better" trade deals - but so far, those better trade deals don't seem to be stronger than the status quo ante.

"I will be very surprised - it could happen - I'll be very surprised if China reduces its tariffs on autos from all sources and all descriptions to zero percent", he said.

Markets took a dive following Trump's tweetstorm.

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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.

While it remains to be seen if Washington and Beijing can iron out their trade differences, it would be beneficial for both sides' energy sectors to at least reach some sort of deal that would allow the free trade of energy between the two super powers.

So far, Trump administration officials have offered tempered optimism on China's ability to move ahead with verbal commitments following years of broken promises.

The U.S. leader said U.S. farmers "will be a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China". Trump also repeated the threat of imposing more tariffs on China after the 90-day deadline expires.

Wang added that the two also agreed to open markets to each other, and that China will work to gradually resolve U.S. concerns in the process of further opening-up.

The president also explained his philosophy of why he supported tariffs with foreign countries.

Another layer of uncertainty over the talks has been a lack of commitment by the Chinese to broker a deal within a 90-day window announced by the United States, commencing from the date of the dinner.

Trump and Xi also agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, according to the White House statement.

Other reports by GizPress

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