Trump optimistic despite haze around China trade

Jeannie Matthews
December 7, 2018

"There was a rally in the expectation that something had happened". "But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man".

He added: "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".

The mood has quickly soured, however, on skepticism that the two sides can reach a substantive deal on a host of highly divisive issues within the 90-day negotiating period.

Hours after threatening "major tariffs" on Chinese goods unless a new trade deal is reached, President Trump on Wednesday claimed his administration is hearing "very strong signals being sent by China".

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. "Narrow agreements and modest concessions in their ongoing trade dispute will not bridge the wide gulf in their respective economic, political and strategic interests". They say that suggests China will need to find issues on which it can show progress to persuade Trump to extend his deadline.

Chinese officials have been instructed to take necessary steps for the purchases, two officials told the outlet.

The president also seemed less focused than he has been in the past on the USA trade deficit with China - widely seen by most economists as a red herring in the trade relationship - and more focused on, as he tweeted, leveling the playing field between US and China firms.

Many economists have expressed skepticism that very much could be achieved to bridge the vast disagreements between the two countries in just 90 days.

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China and the U.S. announced a truce in their trade dispute after the meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Saturday, but that quickly descended into confusion, with both sides announcing different statements on what was agreed.

Failure would raise the specter of a major escalation in the trade battle, with fresh United States tariff action and Chinese retaliation possibly as early as March.

After mostly keeping mostly silent on details from the meeting, Chinese authorities, via a brief statement on the Commerce Ministry's website, said December 4 that China would try to work quickly to implement specific issues already agreed upon.

China also announced an array of punishments that could restrict companies' access to borrowing and state-funding support over intellectual-property theft.

The two sides will also negotiate "structural changes" to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, according to the White House.

"This is the first positive news we've seen after months of downturned prices and halted shipments", said John Heisdorffer, a soybean grower from Keota, Iowa.

Officials from the United States and a number of other major economies have often criticized China for its slow approach to negotiations and not following through on commitments.

As part of the truce, Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise the tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 percent beginning January 1, leaving them at the current 10 percent rate. He added that the German automakers "wouldn't be coming to the table here to talk to us unless the president had auto tariffs on the table".

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