China, US declare 90-day halt to new tariffs: White House - International

03 December, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires

Beijing and Washington are now locked in a trade war, after Trump began imposing tariffs on Chinese goods for violating intellectual property rights, also accusing the Asian nation of unfair trade practices amounting to a $375 billion United States trade deficit with China.

Trump and Xi, who were in the Argentinian capital over the last two days for a summit of G20 countries, had gone into the meeting in a bid to pull the world's top two economies from the brink of a full-fledged trade war.

The White House said it would postpone for 90 days a planned increase of USA tariffs on Chinese goods, while China pledged to take in more United States imports.

The Trump administration had threatened to more than double the tariffs it has already slapped on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, while Xi's government has put targeted tariffs on $110 billion in USA goods.

The statement said that China agreed to start purchasing agricultural products from United States farmers "immediately". But if negotiators can't come to a broader agreement at the end of that time, the tariffs will rise, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in the statement.

"Both sides believe that the principled agreement reached between the two presidents has effectively prevented the further expansion of economic frictions between the two countries", he said.

The usually abrasive ruling Communist Party run Chinese tabloid, Global Times said "the progress made at the talks in Buenos Aires is of momentous significance since the Sino-US trade friction escalates this year".

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 U.S. overdoses. Trump said at the time that he would raise the issue of Chinese fentanyl making its way to the US with Xi as a top priority.

On economic and trade issues, Xi said that it is very normal that the two countries have some disagreements in the fields of economy and trade, adding that the key is to manage their differences properly and work out a solution acceptable to both sides in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Prior to dinner, Trump said he will urge Xi to address the "tremendous fentanyl problem" and "criminalize it in China" so that it does not get to the American market. Most U.S. supply of the drug is manufactured in China. During that time, the United States and China will negotiate a series of reforms, with neither side imposing additional punitive measures on the other.

Trump told Xi at the start of their meeting he hoped they would achieve "something great" on trade for both countries.

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.

"The relationship is very special-the relationship that I have with President Xi", he said.

In their remarks before dinner, Trump and Xi spoke at a table covered in white plates, white tablecloth, and yellow and red flowers.

Kudlow said the administration has been "extremely disappointed" by China's engagement in trade talks but the meeting between Trump and Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit could be a game-changer.

"Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interests of world peace and prosperity", Xi said, adding that he looked forward to exchanging ideas and having an opportunity to "jointly map out the future for China-US relations".

If there is any further retaliation, Trump has warned, he will slap punitive duties on the remaining $267 billion in Chinese goods coming to the US.

He said under the deal China would buy a "tremendous amount of agricultural and other product" from the United States.



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