Friday, 14 December, 2018

Beijing Makes ‘Specific Commitments’ on US-China Trade Deal

Vincent Yu | AP Vincent Yu | AP
Kenny Thornton | 06 December, 2018, 16:35

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

In a brief statement on its website, the ministry said China would try to work quickly to implement specific issues already agreed upon, as both sides "actively promote the work of negotiations within 90 days in accordance with a clear timetable and road map".

Declaring himself "Tariff Man", Mr. Trump warned China to make a trade deal - or else.

"Very strong signals being sent by China once they returned home from their long trip, including stops, from Argentina", he wrote.

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

"We wouldn't be surprised if no agreement can be reached within 90 days, with the higher tariff rate coming into force only a few months later than originally planned".

Hours later, Bloomberg News reported that officials have begun preparing to restart imports of U.S. 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 United States products "immediately".

Bob Lighthizer will be working closely with Steve Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro on seeing whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible.

"Free trade has made the success story of BMW in the USA possible", the company said in a statement Tuesday, adding that 70 percent of the cars made in Spartanburg past year were exported to more than 120 countries. But when Trump announced broad new USA tariffs on Chinese made goods, the Beijing government raised duties specifically on American made automobiles and parts.

China has indicated that it is confident it can strike a lasting trade deal with the United States.

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

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Instead, the two sides are to negotiate over United States complaints about China's trade practices, notably that it has used predatory tactics to try to achieve supremacy in technology.

"China will start with the implementation of the specific matters in which consensus has been reached, the sooner the better", it added, without providing more details.

"Narrow agreements and modest concessions in the ongoing trade dispute will not bridge the wide gulf in their respective economic, political and strategic interests", Moody's Investors Service said in a report that predicted U.S.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is taking over as lead negotiator from Mnuchin, who will continue to be involved in deals.

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

That approach so far has amounted to slapping tariffs on US$250 billion (NZ$361 billion) of Chinese imports and vowing to impose penalties on all other imports if China doesn't make changes. Chinese shares responded in kind, opening lower on Wednesday.

Also, China's commerce ministry made no mention of the auto tariff cuts which Mr Trump said earlier this week China had agreed to.

Global financial markets tumbled on Tuesday as doubts over what could realistically be accomplished in the tight negotiating window added to concerns about fading global growth. "It's just madness", one anonymous former official told The Post on Tuesday.

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

The White House's press release said that the People's Republic "will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products".

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