US-China agree to restart truce talks on Trade War

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump have wrapped up their high-stakes summit at the G20 in Osaka, Japan, with the American leader saying the outcome was “better than expected”, and China said the US had agreed not to impose any further tariffs on its goods.

When asked about the talks, Trump said it was a “very, very good meeting, better than expected”.

“We’re right back on track,” he said, without elaborating.

China’s state news agency Xinhua said the two leaders had agreed to resume economic and trade negotiations, and that the US said it would not impose any new tariffs on Chinese products.

It had been widely expected that the two world’s two largest economies would agree to another truce – as they did after Xi and Trump met in Buenos Aires in December – but the news will still have come as a relief to investors and helped to allay fears of a further deterioration of China-US relations.

Trump confirmed he had agreed with Chinese president Xi Jinping that the US would not implement new tariffs on US$300 billion of Chinese imports “at least for the time being” and that negotiations to end their year-long trade war would resume.

Trump had threatened to impose tariffs on a further US$300 billion worth of Chinese products if Xi did not meet him in Japan or if the talks failed to produce a tangible result.

A good news for Huawei

Trump said that US companies could sell to Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei again as long as the sales did not involve equipment that threatened US national security.

This effectively ends the current ban on US company sales to Huawei. However, Trump said the decision on whether to take Huawei off the Commerce Department’s entities list would be left to a later, adding he will have a meeting Tuesday on the subject. “We are leaving Huawei towards the end. We are seeing what goes with the trade agreement,” suggesting that fully lifting of the ban on Huawei would rest on a deal to end the trade war.

 Trump said he and Xi did not discuss the case of Sabrina Meng, the Huawei chief financial officer who is imprisoned in Canada awaiting a hearing on whether she will be extradited to the US on charges she violated American sanctions against Iran.

China and the US can be “strategic partners,” Trump said. However, the US is open to China but China is not open to the US.  Trump said China had agreed to buy a “tremendous” amount of US goods to reduce the trade imbalance. The US will give China a list of the goods it wants them to buy.

He said he had a “tremendous” relationship with Xi, calling Xi “a brilliant leader and brilliant man” who is one of the best leaders China has had in the last 200 years.

In his opening remarks, Xi cited the “ping-pong diplomacy” that began at the 1971 world table tennis games in Nagoya, Japan, and eventually led to a normalisation of relations between Washington and Beijing.

“China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in a confrontation. Cooperation is better than friction, and dialogue is better than confrontation,” he said.

The president said he would exchange views with Trump on some fundamental issues in Sino-US relations.

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