China trade vow after Trump talks helps settle financial markets

Xi Jingping

Beijing tried to boost optimism over the world's two largest economies yesterday, after days of interventions from Mr Trump and his advisers.

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.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who rattled global markets Tuesday after declaring himself "a Tariff Man", predicted in a series of tweets Wednesday the United States and China would negotiate a new trade deal. "Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina", Mr Trump tweeted.

Trump agreed he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products at 10 percent, and not raise it to 25 percent as he has threatened to do January 1, according to a White House statement.

But if a deal doesn't happen, he warned, "I am a tariff man".

Hours later, Bloomberg News reported that officials have begun preparing to restart imports of USA soybeans and liquefied natural gas -the first sign confirming the claims of Trump and the White House that China had agreed to start buying some USA products "immediately".

Among the conflicting assertions that White House officials made was over whether China had actually agreed to drop its 40% tariffs on US autos.

The BBC's Robin Brant in Shanghai said China's comments put it at odds with the White House.

"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", he said.

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.

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Pompeo said in Brussels on Tuesday the United States could abandon some global agreements to thwart bad actors like China, which he accused of cynically exploiting World Trade Organization rules.

China has said that Beijing and Washington will push forward with trade negotiations in the next 90 days and it is confident that an agreement can be reached but doubts remain over whether the two sides can resolve their deep differences. Trump's National Economic Council advisor Larry Kudlow tried to strike an update note while acknowledging to Fox News a deal "hasn't been signed and sealed and delivered yet".

In a subsequent tweet, Trump said he would "happily sign" a "fair deal" that addresses United States concerns, should one be reached with Beijing.

Mr. Kudlow said at an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal that he sees no recession on the horizon for the US economy. Instead of being hammered out by lower-level officials, he said Xi came very prepared for the conversation, and that the deal was mostly done by the two leaders.

"There are strong views in Japan that if China is honest about rapprochement with Japan, while respecting relevant World Trade Organisation rules based on scientific evidence, China should significantly speed up the process towards lifting the restrictions against Japanese goods and products", the source said.

The White House has said China had committed to start buying more American products and lifting tariff and non-tariff barriers immediately, while beginning talks on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers and intellectual property protection.

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.

Furthermore, Kudlow seemed to downplay Trump's assertion following the meeting that China agreed to reduce or eliminate its tariffs on American automobiles, telling reporters that there was no "specific" agreement reached.

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

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