China-US trade: China vows speedy action on trade commitments

Roman Schwartz
December 6, 2018

Earlier Wednesday morning Trump quoted a Bloomberg report that China has begun preparing to restart imports of USA energy and agricultural products.

On 2 December, Bloomberg published a side-by-side comparison of statements made by U.S. and Chinese officials and found them "rarely overlapping".

China's Commerce Ministry did say on its website that it would begin "implementing specific issues on which consensus has been reached", but the vague statement included no details.

Answer: Over the span of 90 days, the economic and trade teams of both sides will actively push forward the negotiation according to a clear schedule and roadmap. The ministry didn't respond to questions by phone and fax.

During the talks in Buenos Aires, Trump agreed to delay a scheduled escalation in USA tariffs on many Chinese goods, from 10 percent to 25 percent, that had been set to take effect January 1.

The Trump administration has sought changes in its trade relationship with China to fix what it calls trade abuses.

That optimistic tone contrasted with Chinese criticism of Canada's arrest of an executive of technology giant Huawei who a Toronto newspaper said is accused by the United States of trying to violate trade curbs on Iran. "So this time around as I said, I'm hopeful, we're covering more ground than ever..." Negotiations will proceed "step by step, not based on the rhythm of the United States". Beijing also hasn't publicly agreed to the Trump administration's 90-day deadline for negotiations. "It's just madness", one anonymous former official told The Post on Tuesday.

Greene said this might simply reflect China's communications strategy.

It described the discussions between Mr Trump and Mr Xi as "successful", adding it was "confident" that their agreement will be implemented "the sooner the better". While Washington will leave tariffs on Chinese goods at 10 per cent, it will not raise them to 25 per cent in the near future.

Even on routine matters, with no voters to placate and total control of Chinese media, they can frustrate other governments by leaving them waiting weeks or months for a response.

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Despite the Chinese silence, the "atmosphere is more constructive" and Beijing might be more willing to negotiate, Kuijs said.

There was reportedly no document signed by the two sides following their meeting in Argentina.

The disarray surrounding the China deal coincides with a global economy that faces other challenges: Britain is struggling to negotiate its exit from the European Union.

"If it is, we will get it done".

The tit-for-tat trade war with China has been proving costly for the USA with signs that some automakers might be ready to move some production and jobs out of the country.

At the same time, analysts said they were relieved that the Trump-Xi meeting at least pressed the "pause" button on tariff hikes.

That prompted some economists to ask whether Beijing was presenting a positive image for Chinese audiences or didn't understand the depth of American opposition to its technology plans.

Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, was more blunt in a television interview Tuesday about the administration's stance on nervous markets plummeting.

While Asian and European equities dropped Wednesday in the wake of the biggest slide in stocks on Wall Street since the mid-October downdraft, United States futures advanced after the statement from China echoed Trump's optimism over bilateral trade talks.

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