Thu, Dec 06, 2018 - Page 10 News List

China moves on trade commitments

KNOCK-ON EFFECT:While Asian equities dropped yesterday, US futures advanced after a statement from China confirmed Trump’s optimistic claims over trade talks


China has swung into action to start delivering on the trade commitments that led to its weekend truce with the US, even as uncertainty over what was agreed lingers.

Beijing is to start quickly implementing specific items where there is consensus with the US and push forward on trade negotiations within the 90-day “timetable and road map,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement yesterday morning.

Hours later, Bloomberg News reported that officials have begun preparing to restart imports of US soybeans and liquefied natural gas — the first sign confirming the claims of US President Donald Trump and the White House that China had agreed to start buying some US products “immediately.”

Global markets on Monday cheered the weekend accord, only to reverse course on Tuesday as doubts emerged over exactly what the world’s two largest economies had agreed on.

While Asian equities dropped yesterday in the wake of the biggest slide in stocks on Wall Street since the mid-October downdraft, US futures advanced after the statement from China echoed Trump’s optimism over trade talks.

The ministry statement described the meeting with the US as “very successful” and said China is “confident” of implementing the results agreed upon at the talks, but did not provide any further details on the outcome.

It was the first official confirmation from China that there is a 90-day window for the talks.

China and the US announced a truce in their trade dispute after the meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Saturday, but that quickly descended into confusion, with both sides announcing different statements on what was agreed.

There has also been confusion on the US side, with the White House, Trump and his advisers making conflicting statements as to the details of a deal.

The White House statement listed what it claimed China had promised to do.

The most detailed explanation of what the Chinese say they agreed to came from Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on Saturday in Argentina.

He told reporters that China had said it was willing to “expand imports according to the needs of its domestic market and people, including importing marketable products from the US to gradually ease the trade imbalances,” adding that both sides had agreed to open their markets to each other.

Chinese officials have been told to take necessary steps for the soybeans and liquefied natural gas purchases, two officials with knowledge of the discussions said.

It was not clear whether the preparations meant China would cut the retaliatory tariffs it imposed on those products, or when the purchases would happen.

Chinese purchases of the goods collapsed after Beijing imposed tariffs on them in retaliation for US import taxes.

China also announced an array of punishments that could restrict companies’ access to borrowing and state-funding support over intellectual-property theft. It set out 38 different punishments to be applied to IP violations, starting this month.

The document, dated Nov. 21, was released on Tuesday by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and signed by various government bodies, including the central bank and supreme court.

Trump continues to ratchet up pressure on China, saying there would be a “REAL DEAL with China, or no deal at all.”

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