Trump announces Chinese rollback of auto tariffs

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Trump announces Chinese rollback of auto tariffs

The truce, agreed on Friday (30 November) by U.S. president Donald Trump and China's president Xi Jinping, has been welcomed by USA associations representing apparel and footwear brands and retailers.

US President Donald Trump boasted Monday that US relations with China have taken a "BIG leap forward" following his meeting in Argentina with President Xi Jinping.

The meeting was the first face-to-face encounter between the leaders in more than a year, a period that saw the Trump administration impose tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports in a bid to force Beijing to halt trade practices the US considers unfair. "It is my great honour to be working with President Xi".

One of China's major concerns is US interference in areas it considers "internal" matters. China raised its tariff on auto imports from the US from 15 percent to 40 percent in retaliation for Trump administration tariffs on imports from China. The sticking points include "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture", according to an official White House statement.

In return, China is to purchase "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the United States.

U.S. exports of cars and light trucks to China were worth US$9.5 billion in 2017 and have dropped off significantly since China imposed its retaliatory tariffs over the summer that gave exporters in Europe and Japan a significant advantage.

"Beyond the political spin, the meeting between Trump and Xi can be considered a success in that the threatened escalation of trade tensions has been pushed back three months and the two parties are once again communicating", Greg Daco of Oxford Economics said.

Beijing has offered limited details regarding the truce deal made during the Trump-Xi meeting in Buenos Aires, a move to downplay China's compromises in the negotiation and to save face in front of its own people.

"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.

After 90 days, if there's no progress on structural reform, the USA will raise those tariffs to 25 percent, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Still, analysts cautioned the deal may have only bought some time for more wrangling over deeply divisive trade and policy differences, and said China's economy will continue to cool regardless under the weight of weakening domestic demand.

However, the truce may well be "less a breakthrough than a breakdown averted", as the New York Times puts it, since China and the United States have very different perspectives on even basic issues such as trade policy and market access, and both show little willingness to compromise.

Also late Sunday, Trump said on Twitter that Beijing agreed to cut import duties on USA autos.

China is the world's biggest vehicle market both in terms of demand and supply. At the start of the dinner, Mr. Trump struck an optimistic note.

The president continued by saying his personal relationship with Xi is very strong, and praised him for reaching a massive and positive trade deal.

"But I will just tell you as an involved participant we expect those tariffs to go to zero", Kudlow added in a conference call with reporters.

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