US, China trade talks could wrap in four weeks

Geraldine Edwards
April 7, 2019

President Trump said Thursday that there could be a "monumental" trade deal with China to announce within the next four weeks but said qualified that some issues remain to be worked out.

The two sides had reached a "new consensus" on the text of a deal during the latest round of talks in Washington this week, Liu said. Xi said, "both sides have made new and substantial progress on key issues regarding trade in the past month and Xi hoped both sides will continue to work together to conclude talks on the trade text as early as possible", Xinhua reported.

President Trump's comments came as top Chinese and USA officials are meeting in Washington to reach an agreement.

The potential trade deal with China would mark the closure of a bitter trade war between the two countries that has included retaliatory tariffs and on-and-off again trade negotiations for over a year.

Markets have been rattled by the uncertainty around the negotiations.

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Washington and Beijing since a year ago have slapped tariffs on more than $360 billion in 2-way trade, biting into their manufacturing sectors as the world economy shows signs of slowing.

The merchandise-trade deficit with China hit a record US$419.2 billion in 2018.

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.

"A trade deal between the two economic giants would help alleviate global growth concerns, provide a much-needed global confidence boost and lift markets", Gregory Daco, chief USA economist at Oxford Economics, said in a report Thursday. 'The (Trump) administration has been equally clear that they want to keep some of the tariffs in place as a way to have leverage over China fulfilling its obligations under whatever final package is reached'. Trump's tariffs won't solve this trade imbalance problem.

Tariffs on imports from China and other countries reduced "US real income of US$1.4b per month" and had a similar effect on countries that had retaliated against the United States, according to a study by economists David Weinstein of Columbia University, Mary Amiti of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and Princeton University's Stephen J. Redding.

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"Manufacturers in the United States have always been harmed by China's unfair trade practices".

The current state of professional pessimism for the United States is a Deloitte study on Wednesday predicting a "deceleration of economic activity by the end of 2020", although few business executives interviewed for the study believe a recession is likely.

Mr. Trump's meeting with Liu comes hours after he threatened to impose tariffs on cars coming into the US from Mexico. China is the biggest buyer of USA soybeans, the bulk of which are genetically modified.

In the past, Beijing has held back approvals of imported GMO products amid concerns about anti-GMO sentiment in China. While we have seen clear progress in recent months, the last part of the negotiation is expected to be the most hard and drawn out.

He also expressed appreciation for Xi's decision to crack down on the powerful opioid fentanyl, saying that it is of great importance to Americans, and for the anti-drug cooperation between China and the US.

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