The Philippine Star
As firms welcome US-China trade truce, warm disputes remain
BEIJING (AP) – Companies have welcomed a USChinese trade truce as a possible step toward breaking a deadlock in a 15-month-old tariff war, while economists caution there was little progress toward settling core disputes including technology that threaten global growth.
President Donald Trump said Washington would suspend a tariff hike planned for Tuesday on $250 billion of Chinese goods.
In exchange, Trump said China agreed to buy as much as $50 billion of American farm goods. Details of other possible agreements weren’t immediately released.
The bruising battle over China’s trade surplus and technology ambitions has disrupted global trade. Economists warn a final settlement might take years to negotiate. Despite that, financial markets rise ahead of each round of talks and fall back when no progress is reported.
Companies acknowledged Friday’s agreement was a modest step and appealed to both governments to step up efforts to end the fight that is battering manufacturers and farmers.
Washington still is planning a Dec. 15 tariff hike on $160 billion of smartphones and other imports. Before then, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to attend an economic conference in Chile in mid-November. That is raising hopes a face-to-face meeting might produce progress.
“Taking tariffs out of the equation for at last the next two months will give space for substantive negotiations,” said Jake Parker, senior vice president of the US-China Business Council, an industry group.
Trump said Friday’s deal has yet to be put down on paper but said, “We should be able to get that done over the next four weeks.”
China’s government welcomed “substantial progress” but gave no details of possible agreements.
“I don’t think it’s a victory, but it eases the situation,” said economist Yu Chunhai at Renmin University in Beijing. He said both sides want to restore business and consumer confidence.
There was no word of agreements on the core issues that sparked the dispute. Those include US pressure on Beijing to roll back plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics, electric cars and other technologies.
“There remains significant work ahead to address many of the most important US trade and investment priorities,” Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. Still, he called Friday’s announcement a “ray of hope.”
Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say China’s plans violate its market-opening obligations and are based on stealing or pressuring companies to hand over technology.
Chinese leaders see those tactics as the surest path to prosperity and global influence. President Donald Trump receives a letter presented to him by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.