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The Escalating Trade War Between China And U.S. Calls A Truce

Xi also expressed sympathies for the passing of the former president, saying Bush, who also was once the U.S. envoy to China.

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USA, China,
President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. VOA

The world’s two largest economies have agreed to a small truce in their escalating trade war after a meeting between presidents U.S Donald Trump and China Xi Jinping following the G-20 summit.

“This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China,” Trump said in a statement released as he flew back to the United States from Argentina on Air Force One. “It is my great honor to be working with President Xi.”

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he flew back to Washington, “It’s an incredible deal. What I’ll be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up, China will be getting rid of tariffs. China will be buying massive amounts of products from us.”

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

USA, China, Trade War
Mike Starkey offloads soybeans from his combine as he harvests his crops in Brownsburg, Indiana, Sept. 21, 2018. China has agree to immediately U.S. agricultural products again in a trade war truce struck Dec. 1, 2018. VOA

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. “China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”

Trump and Xi also “agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, according to the White House statement. “Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.”

Some of the details were echoed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who confirmed that both countries will step up negotiations.

The news is likely to bring cheer Monday to global financial markets, which have been sensitive to the escalating trade battles between China and the United States.

USA, China, Trade War
Plastic bags of fentanyl are displayed at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. VOA

Fentanyl designation

At the dinner, Xi also agreed to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance, meaning that people selling the powerful opioid to the United States will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law.

The White House is calling the Chinese president’s decision a “wonderful humanitarian gesture.”

Trump, sitting across from Xi at a long banquet table, described their relationship as “incredible” and predicted that would mean “we’ll probably end up getting something that’s good for China and good for the United States.”

In his remarks, the Chinese president noted, “it’s been a long time since our previous meeting and a lot of things have taken place.”

Xi added, “Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interest of world peace and prosperity.”

TradeWar, China, USA
Many major business leaders in both the United States and China had hoped for some sort of truce.

G-20 summit concludes

The 2½-hour meal, which was moved up an hour earlier than its original start time following the conclusion of the G-20 leaders’ meeting here, included a group of top officials from both sides.

Among those at the table for the United States: Trade policy adviser Peter Navarro, seen as the most hawkish member of Trump’s team when it comes to economic issues with China. The other key attendees for the U.S., according to the White House, were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Security Adviser John Bolton, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner (who is a senior adviser) and Larry Kudlow, assistant to the president for economic policy.

Fears of no progress

Many major business leaders in both the United States and China had hoped for some sort of truce or partial deal in what is seen as an escalating trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Despite months of complaints by the United States and the U.S. 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.

China, USA, Trade War
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping participate in a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. VOA

Observers feared that if no progress was made at the Trump-Xi dinner, the U.S. president would make good on his threat to double the amount of Chinese goods facing punitive taxes, and escalate tariffs to a 25 percent level at the start of the new year.

China, in response, had been threatening to impose taxes on an additional 5,000 types of American imports worth about $60 billion.

WTO reform

“I think the worst of it is that the conflict between China and the U.S. is again showing the limits of multilateral institutions, in particular the World Trade Organization,” Roberto Bouzas, an international relations and economics professor at the Universidad de San Andres, told VOA.

In its communique Saturday at the conclusion of the leaders’ summit, the G-20 called for reform of the WTO to improve its functioning and said the group would review progress made by the trade organization at next year’s summit in Japan.

“For the first time ever, the G-20 recognized the WTO is currently falling short of meeting its objectives and that it’s in need of reform,” a U.S. official, speaking on condition of not being named, told reporters.

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Secretary Kerry Touts Virtues of 10-Year U.S.-China Business and Tourism Visas Before Presenting First Documents in Beijing, flickr

“We’ll see what reactions we get in the next few months,” to the WTO reform call in the communique, G-20 host Mauricio Macri, the president of Argentina, told reporters, adding, “there is clearly a need for dispute mechanisms that are more agile.”

No press conference

Earlier in the day, Trump canceled a planned news conference, saying the timing was not right because of the death of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the age of 94.

“He was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed. He lived a full life and an exemplary life,” Trump said of the late president. He did not respond to a reporter’s question about whether he regrets his past criticism of the 41st president, and his son, George W. Bush, who was the 43rd president.

“The fact that we lost a president really puts a damper on it,” Trump said of Saturday evening’s dinner.

At the table, Trump announced his plane would fly to Houston, in the state of Texas, after the return of Air Force One from Argentina, to transport Bush’s casket to Washington.

Also Read: USA Finally votes On Tuesday To Render Decision On Trump

During the meal, Xi also expressed sympathies for the passing of the former president, saying Bush, who also was once the U.S. envoy to China, had “made many contributions to U.S.-China friendship.”

Xi, according to the White House, also told Trump he is open to approving the previously unapproved $44 billion bid by American semiconductor and telecommunication equipment manufacturer Qualcomm to purchase Dutch semiconductor maker NXP should the deal again be presented to him.

The acquisition collapsed four months ago after Chinese regulators expressed anti-trust concerns. (VOA)

Next Story

China Hopes to Welcome US “Back to The Negotiating Table” to Discuss Global Efforts to Limit Climate Change

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago

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China, US, Climate Change
FILE - China's top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua. VOA

China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile in December, its top climate change envoy said on Tuesday.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago that China would provide “full support to the Chilean presidency of this meeting.”

The summit was “strong proof that a multilateral negotiation process is successful, that multilateralism is working,” he said.

Asked if the U.S. approach to the threat of climate change under President Donald Trump and the U.S.-China trade dispute might affect the outcome in Santiago, Xie replied: “China and the U.S. has many differences but we do have some common grounds on climate change issues as well and we welcome them back to the negotiating table on climate change, we are very open to that.”

China, US, Climate Change
China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile. VOA

Trump has signaled his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord and been dismissive of regulations aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions. He has also expressed his preference for bilateral trade pacts over multilateral agreements.

In July, China pledged on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka to show “the highest possible ambition” in the fight against climate change. Experts and policy advisors say the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter could introduce new and more stringent carbon targets next year.

Xie said China would back a bid by the U.N. secretary-general and climate change envoy to persuade all countries to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) goals to keep global warming to well below two degrees centigrade.

“The most important objective is to identify the new NDCs for the post-2020 period and link those new NDCs together with the financial support from the developed countries as promised,” Xie said. “To have that financial support in place is very important and that’s the objective we would like to achieve.”

Also Read- Students of IIT Delhi Launch Reusable Sanitary Pads

China is a key investor in Chilean renewable energy projects and manufactured half of the solar panels at the 110MW Parque Quilapilún solar plant Xie visited with environment minister Carolina Schmidt.

Schmidt will serve as president of the COP25 U.N. climate change summit in December. (VOA)