China pos­i­tive on US trade deal, but Huawei big­wig’s ar­rest rat­tles stocks

Cape Times - - NATION -

CHINA yes­ter­day ex­pressed con­fi­dence in strik­ing a trade deal with the US within their 90-day cease­fire pe­riod, prais­ing the re­cent meet­ing be­tween US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping as highly suc­cess­ful.

In Ar­gentina last week­end, Trump and Xi agreed to a truce that de­layed the planned Jan­uary 1 US hike of tar­iffs to 25% from 10% on $200bil­lion of Chi­nese goods while they ne­go­ti­ate a trade deal.

“We are con­fi­dent in reach­ing an agree­ment within the next 90 days,” China’s com­merce min­istry spokesman Gao Feng said, adding that both sides had been com­mu­ni­cat­ing and co-op­er­at­ing “smoothly” since the lead­ers met in Ar­gentina.

China’s ul­ti­mate goal dur­ing the 90-day trade talks is to re­move all US tar­iffs im­posed on Chi­nese goods, Gao said.

His com­ments come after the ar­rest of a top ex­ec­u­tive of Chi­nese tech gi­ant Huawei by Cana­dian au­thor­i­ties, on Wash­ing­ton’s re­quest, threat­ens to spark a flare-up in ten­sions be­tween the world’s two eco­nomic pow­er­houses again.

The two coun­tries have hit each other with tit-for-tat tar­iffs on goods worth hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in sec­tors from au­to­mo­biles to agri­cul­ture and en­ergy, stymy­ing trade and re­draw­ing global sup­ply chains.

Gao con­firmed for the first time since the meet­ing that China had agreed to im­ple­ment con­sen­sus reached by both sides on agri­cul­ture, en­ergy and cars.

“Then, in the next 90 days, we will fol­low a clear timetable and roadmap to ne­go­ti­ate on is­sues such as in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights pro­tec­tion, tech co-op­er­a­tion, mar­ket ac­cess and trade bal­ance,” he said, stress­ing that the con­sul­ta­tions should be based on meet­ing the in­ter­ests of both par­ties.

The White House has said China had com­mit­ted to start buy­ing more US prod­ucts and lift­ing tar­iff and non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers, while be­gin­ning talks on struc­tural changes with re­spect to forced tech­nol­ogy trans­fers and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty pro­tec­tion.

But global mar­kets have been ner­vous about the prospects of a Sino-US trade dis­pute spilling over to grow­ing ri­valry be­tween both sides.

The daugh­ter of Huawei’s founder is fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion to the US, deal­ing a blow to hopes of an eas­ing of Sino-US trade ten­sions and rock­ing global stock mar­kets.

| Reuters

SWEDISH For­eign Min­is­ter Mar­got Wall­strom and UN en­voy to Ye­men Mar­tin Grif­fiths at the open­ing press con­fer­ence on peace talks for Ye­men at Jo­han­nes­berg cas­tle, in Rimbo, Swe­den, yes­ter­day.

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