Trump shifts focus to Japan after trade truce with China

Dwayne Harmon
December 3, 2018

The Chinese agreed to buy a substantial amount to USA agriculture, energy and industrial goods, although the amount has not been finalized, according to the White House.

The announcements came after Trump and Xi sat down with their aides for a working dinner at the end of a two-day gathering of world leaders in Buenos Aires, their dispute having unnerved global financial markets and weighed on the world economy.

Despite months of complaints by the United States and the US imposing tariffs on about $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, Beijing "has not fundamentally alerted its unfair, unreasonable, and market-distorting practices", according to a report issued last week by Lighthizer.

Beijing for its part agreed to buy an unspecified but "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, the White House said in a statement.

"United States also believes that China infringes intellectual property rights (IPR) regularly, forces foreign investors to transfer technology to China, and has yet to open up domestic Chinese markets as it had committed to as a condition to joining WTO in 2001", Narayan said, adding that the United States "now wants to force the issue by using tariffs as a weapon against China and negotiate a better bilateral trade deal".

Both countries agreed they will try to have this "transaction" completed within the next 90 days, but if this does not happen then the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent, it added.

President Trump left the G-20 summit in Argentina with an agreement not to raise tariffs in the next 90 days on Chinese goods, the White House said. They have also agreed to exchange visits at the appropriate time.

The communique mentioned the brewing trade war between the USA and China.

In what the White House called a "wonderful humanitarian gesture", the White House said that Xi would crack down on fentanyl, the opioid painkiller largely made in China that is behind an epidemic of USA overdoses.

Meanwhile, China has targeted $110 billion worth of USA imports for tariffs.

The dinner between Trump and Xi lasted almost two-and-a-half hours - an hour longer than expected, according to the South China Morning Post.

The tariffs roiled financial markets and worldwide supply chains.

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It was the first meeting between Xi and Trump since the US president paid a state visit to China in November a year ago.

According to Chinese media the leaders have reached a consensus that trade talks should continue and have agreed not to impose any additional tariffs, at least for now.

Prior to Trump's meeting with Xi, Stanley Chao, managing director of California-based All in Consulting, which assists Western companies in developing business in Asia, told Newsweek that he believed Trump needed "a win after the midterm elections", suggesting that the president would need to compromise.

President Trump heralded the meeting as "amazing and productive", saying it brought about "unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China".

The meeting has offered another chance for Trump to get in the room with Xi.

"My relationship is very special, the relationship that I have with President Xi", Trump said as the two men were seated.

Referencing Mr Trump's fiery rhetoric, he said, "it's all about actions as opposed to words ... as long as there's no escalations, markets will generally look past the words".

"We all realise that we are indirectly influenced by the fact that Sino-American economic relations are not running as smoothly as a world order needs", she said.

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids now rank as the deadliest abused drug in the USA, accounting for nearly half of the more than 70,000 overdose deaths in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is also likely good news for the stock markets in the US and China after both countries - but especially China - have taken a beating in the past few months because of this fight.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's calls on Japan to reduce tariffs on farm products beyond levels agreed to under the CPTPP runs counter to the understanding reached between Trump and Abe in September that Washington would not demand deeper farm tariff cuts than levels Tokyo has agreed in other trade pacts, such as the CPTPP and the Japan-EU FTA.

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