Global

Trump backs off border closure, says tariffs instead

Trump backs off border closure, says tariffs instead

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a message delivered to his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, on Thursday that new substantial progress has been made on the text of the China-U.S. economic and trade agreement in the past more than one month.

China wants U.S tariffs removed before it can lift retaliatory tariffs on the USA agricultural products and industrial goods. But an agreement to schedule a summit meeting suggests both sides are eager to come to a compromise that would end months of tensions between the countries and could prompt a rollback of at least some of the tariffs that the United States has imposed on Chinese goods.

Beijing is also expected to agree to sharply increase purchases of USA goods, putting a dent in America's massive trade deficit with China, which came to a record $379 billion previous year.

Under the current situation, a healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations concerns the interests of both Chinese and American people, as well as the interests of people of other countries around the world, and it needs, in particular, their strategic leadership, Xi told Trump. We have a great partner in the vice-premier.

In comments during his meeting with Trump, Liu cited "great progress" in the talks because of Trump's direct involvement, adding that despite remaining issues, 'hopefully we'll get a good result'.

Later in his remarks, Trump said Washington and Beijing have a global responsibility and that a US-China trade deal would be a "tremendous thing for the world".

China bought about 60 percent of USA soy exports, worth about $12 billion, before the ongoing U.S.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that there were still major issues to resolve in the agreement.

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He said the president should go to the bargaining table with Congress to try to strike a broad deal that improves border security but also includes broader reforms.

"We're going to make a very good deal or we're not going to make a deal at all", he said.

It will be interesting to see if the recent spurt of good economic news inspires Chinese negotiators to dig in their heels or makes them more keenly aware than ever that their ambitious agenda for the coming decades will be ruined if the trade war continues.

Under the proposed agreement, China would commit by 2025 to buy more USA commodities, including soybeans and energy products, and allow 100 per cent foreign ownership for American companies operating in China.

Liu He said the USA and China had reached a new consensus on important issues like the text of the economic and trade agreement, Xinhua reported.

Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said in a report on Thursday, "A trade deal between the two economic giants would help alleviate global growth concerns, provide a much-needed global confidence boost and lift markets", the Associated Press reported. "If they don't do it, we're going to tax the cars", the president said.

Trump, as he often does, talked about the Chinese as fierce competitors who took advantage of the gullible American political class to arrange lopsided trade deals. "The Chinese strategy is to have them get rid of it", he said.

After meetings in Beijing last week, Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are holding talks in Washington with Liu and a Chinese delegation this week. China and the USA shouldn't bind their hands by imposing new tariffs on each other.


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