China economy

Donald Trump tweet rebutted? China vows to carry out ‘concrete’ terms of trade truce

  • Beijing will act on the agreement ‘the sooner the better’, says ministry, without giving details of deal terms or timetable for further talks
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2018, 10:13am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2018, 11:20pm

China will implement the “concrete” terms of the trade truce deal agreed on the weekend by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday.

“The meeting [between Xi and Trump] was successful. We are confident in implementing [its outcome],” a ministry spokesman said in a statement.

“China will start with implementing the concrete items we have agreed. The earlier the better.”

Trump says China agrees to ‘reduce and remove’ tariffs on US cars

The spokesman did not elaborate on the terms and Beijing has so far been silent on the details of the trade truce agreement.

The statement also said that negotiations to address other aspects of the US-China trade war would start soon, based on a set framework.

“The economic and trade teams of both nations will push for consultations based on the concrete timetable and road map within 90 days,” the spokesman said.

US sets 90-day deadline for China to agree comprehensive trade deal

The spokesman did not say when the talks would begin.

The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday that China was preparing to send a delegation of as many as 30 officials to Washington this month to begin talks.

The reference to implementing “concrete” items in the deal may be a response to Trump’s declaration in a tweet on Monday that China had agreed to remove tariffs on imports of US-made cars.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow later said that although there was a general sense from the Trump-Xi meeting that this would happen, there was not yet a formal agreement to do so.

Trump adviser impressed by Xi’s hands-on approach to US trade talks

There were signs that China had started to implement the provisions of the trade truce agreement.

Chinese officials were preparing to restart imports of US soybeans and liquefied natural gas, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The White House said after the Trump-Xi meeting that China agreed to buy a “very substantial” amount of US agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products to help reduce the trade imbalance.

It also said the purchases of agriculture products would begin “immediately”.

Agriculture analysts said that China was likely to begin buying US soybeans after supplies of Brazilian stocks fell, following the usual seasonal growth pattern.

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Monday that China would probably resume purchases of American soybeans around January 1.

The commerce ministry’s announcement came after the US stock market fell on Tuesday, with investors not convinced that the trade war ceasefire was genuine.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 800 points, or 3.1 per cent, to 25,027.

The S&P 500 was down more than 90 points, and the Nasdaq Composite shed nearly 4 per cent, or 283 points.

Throughout Monday, conflicting comments made by Trump and his senior advisers confused investors. The next day, Trump renewed his familiar position of being tough on trade.

On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted: “We are either going to have a REAL DEAL with China, or no deal at all – at which point we will be charging major tariffs against Chinese product being shipped into the United States. Ultimately, I believe, we will be making a deal – either now or into the future ...”

Trump followed that message with another tweet: “... China does not want tariffs!”

During the 90-day truce, negotiations will focus on China’s forced technology transfers from US companies, loose intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cybertheft, among other matters.

How US helped China start its tech ambitions – and lived to regret it

The US is also likely to pressure Beijing to halt its “Made in China 2025” programme, a national industrial policy intended to make China dominant in global technology.