China trade war begins to thaw as new tariffs halted

Jermaine Castillo
December 3, 2018

"Cooperation is the best option for the two countries" in promoting world peace and prosperity, Xi reportedly told the United States president at a working dinner, according to Xinhua.

Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs January 1 on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

China has targeted $110 billion worth of United States imports for tariffs.

President Donald Trump took his first step back in his months-long confrontation with China on Saturday, agreeing to cancel a planned January 1 tariff increase on Chinese products in return for purchases of what the White House called a "very substantial" amount of American farm, energy and industrial goods. The G20 agreed to reform the World Trade Organization, which is accused by Trump of limiting United States commercial freedoms to the advantage of China and other rivals.

As part of the deal, China also agreed to start purchasing agricultural products from USA farmers immediately, the White House said.

The biggest headline is that both sides have agreed to temporarily hold off on the implementation of new tariffs.

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.

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The US has hit $250bn of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.

But financial markets, spooked by the potential impact on the world economy, hoped that at least some kind of truce could be declared.

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Beyond trade, Xi also agreed to designate the drug fentanyl as a controlled substance, the White House said.

United States President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping agreed on Saturday to suspend any new tariffs in the escalating trade war between the world's two largest economies, even if huge existing duties will remain in place. A summit meeting between presidents can trigger fresh action, but if neither side is willing to make needed concessions, a deal will never happen.

Xi replied referencing the men's "personal friendship" and that they must cooperate for "world peace and prosperity".

Daniel M. Price, a former trade adviser to President George W. Bush told The New York Times that "a halt in the tariff wars will be welcome", however he explained that it wouldn't "alter the fundamental collision course that Trump and Xi seem to be on". China retaliated with import taxes on soybeans- a major American agricultural export- and cars and liquified natural gas.

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"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 global relations and economics professor at the Universidad de San Andres, told VOA.

"Beijing at best gets a temporary reprieve from additional tariffs, but was unable to get the U.S.to agree to return to "business as usual", he said. Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia are the world's two leading exporters of crude, and Putin said they had agreed to extend a pact on oil production cuts, as prices slump on global markets. Trump framed canceling NAFTA as a way to force legislators' hands.

"He was a terrific guy and he'll be missed".

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

Putin said it was "a pity" that he had not been able to have a proper meeting with Trump at the G20.

While neither side issued any immediate statements on the outcome, White House chief economist Larry Kudlow told reporters as he boarded Air Force One that the talks went "very well".

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