CHINA SWINGS INTO AC­TION ON TRADE

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BLOOMBERG NEWS

China 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 will start to quickly im­ple­ment spe­cific items where there’s con­sen­sus with the US and will push for­ward on trade ne­go­ti­a­tions within the 90-day “timetable and road map.”

China 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 will start to quickly im­ple­ment spe­cific items where there’s con­sen­sus with the US and will push for­ward on trade ne­go­ti­a­tions within the 90-day "timetable and road map," the Min­istry of Com­merce said in a state­ment on Wed­nes­day morn­ing in China.

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 Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and the White House that China had agreed to start buy­ing some US prod­ucts "im­me­di­ately." In the af­ter­noon, a Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs spokesman said China hopes to speed up talks and is de­voted to find­ing a so­lu­tion to set­tle is­sues.

Global mar­kets cheered the week­end ac­cord on Mon­day, only to re­verse course Tues­day as doubts emerged over ex­actly what the world’s two largest economies had agreed on. While Asian and Euro­pean eq­ui­ties dropped Wed­nes­day 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 bi­lat­eral trade talks.

The Min­istry of Com­merce 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 didn’t pro­vide any fur­ther de­tails on the out­come. It was the first of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion from China that there’s a 90day win­dow for the talks.

China and the US an­nounced a truce in their trade war after the meet­ing be­tween Trump and Xi Jin­ping on Satur­day, but that quickly de­scended into con­fu­sion, with both sides an­nounc­ing dif­fer­ent state­ments on what was agreed. There’s also been con­fu­sion just 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 For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi 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, ac­cord­ing to two of­fi­cials with knowl­edge of the dis­cus­sions. It wasn’t 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 a to­tal of 38 dif­fer­ent pun­ish­ments to be ap­plied to IP vi­o­la­tions, start­ing this month. The doc­u­ment, dated Nov. 21, was re­leased Tues­day by the Na­tional Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion and signed by var­i­ous gov­ern­ment bod­ies, in­clud­ing the cen­tral bank and supreme court.

Trump, who on Tues­day de­scribed him­self as "Tar­iff Man," con­tin­ues to ratchet up pres­sure on China, say­ing there will be a "REAL DEAL with China, or no deal at all."

Bei­jing will start to im­ple­ment spe­cific items where there’s con­sen­sus with the US and will push for­ward on trade ne­go­ti­a­tions within the 90-day “timetable and road map”

A woman walks past an elec­tronic board show­ing Hong Kong share in­dex out­side a lo­cal bank in Hong Kong, Wed­nes­day, Dec. 5, 2018. Shares were moder­ately lower in Asia on Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing a blood­let­ting on Wall Street as good­will gen­er­ated by a truce be­tween the US and China over trade evap­o­rated in con­fu­sion over ex­actly what the two sides had agreed upon

In this Dec. 1, 2018, photo, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, sec­ond from right, meets with China's Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, sec­ond from left, dur­ing their bi­lat­eral meet­ing at the G20 Sum­mit, in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina

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