China 'confident' of USA trade deal in 90 days as questions mount

Sergio Conner
December 6, 2018

The Chinese have not acknowledged a 90-day deadline for the talks or said that they plan to "immediately" increase purchases of USA farm goods.

In a series of tweets on December 4, he recalled their "wonderful and very warm dinner" where the two discussed trade, and affirmed that both leaders "want this deal to happen".

Trump tweeted early Wednesday that Beijing is sending "very strong signals" about a new trade framework since returning from talks over the weekend in Buenos Aires.

According to details released by the White House, Trump agreed to postpone a planned January 1 escalation of tariffs on Chinese goods for 90 days, while Xi agreed to buy more American agricultural goods in the meantime. "So this time around, as I said, I'm hopeful, we're covering more ground than we'll see".

As the USA and China carry out negotiations to finalise a deal over their economic dispute, Mr Trump has warned China to negotiate a fair deal or else continue to face imposed tariffs.

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.

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

In a "supremely ironic" move, China may even seek to negotiate entry to the TPP-11, which was originally conceived by the Obama Administration as part of pivot to Asia, and which may end up including China but not the USA itself, he said.

Trump has so far preferred a bilateral approach in dealing with China, but Beijing has also been keen to ensure that American partners like the European Union, Canada, Australia and Japan do not team up with the United States to pressure China on what they see as unfair trade practices and barriers to market access.

Meanwhile, as Trump and White House officials tout the truce, Beijing has said little on a pact that cheered markets but left many questions unanswered.

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"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.

Kudlow also said the goal was to eliminate all tariffs on any imports, which is a departure from what Trump wrote on Tuesday in a Twitter post, when he said he was a "tariff man".

Mr Trump has long accused China of unfair trade practices that hurt USA citizens and the economy.

But he added, "if that's real" - raising some doubt - it would close the USA trade deficit with China, and 'we have to have a negotiated agreement and have this on paper'.

The ministry lauded Mr Trump's talks with President Xi Jinping at the weekend as "successful", and said it was "confident" their agreement would be implemented. In a series of Tuesday morning tweets, the president showed optimism about reaching a "fair deal", but stressed that he is "a Tariff Man" if talks fail. Mnuchin said Monday morning on CNBC that China had offered to buy up to US$1.2 trillion of additional United States goods, even while the "details of that still need to be negotiated".

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is taking over as lead negotiator from Mnuchin, who will continue to be involved in deals. Ultimately, I believe, we will be making a deal - either now or into the future. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. General Motors, which not only exports some models to China but also imports the Chinese-made Envision SUV, fell 5 percent to $36.52 a share.

Mr. Trump said this week that China agreed in talks to eliminate vehicle tariffs of 40 percent, which would be a boon to foreign automakers.

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.

In return, China agreed to buy what the White House called a "not yet agreed upon, but very substantial" amount of US products to help narrow America's gaping trade deficit with China.

As part of the talks on Saturday night, Trump agreed not to increase existing tariffs on Chinese goods or impose any new ones for 90 days, while talks took place.

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