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

The Mercury - - WORLD - | |

Saudi Ara­bia and Iran, has been stale­mated for years, threat­en­ing sup­ply lines to feed nearly 30 mil­lion in­hab­i­tants.

The Houthis con­trol the cap­i­tal Sana’a and most pop­u­lated ar­eas, while the ousted gov­ern­ment, based in the south­ern city of Aden, has strug­gled to ad­vance de­spite the aid of Arab states.

Hu­man­i­tar­ian suf­fer­ing in one of the world’s poor­est coun­tries has added to pres­sure on the par­ties to end the con­flict, with faith in the Saudi-led war ef­fort flag­ging among Western al­lies that arm and sup­port the coali­tion.

Out­rage over the Oc­to­ber 2 mur­der of Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi at the king­dom’s Is­tan­bul con­sulate has also un­der­mined Western sup­port for Riyadh’s re­gional ac­tiv­i­ties.

Diplo­mats were ex­pected to shut­tle be­tween the war­ring par­ties to dis­cuss other con­fi­dence-build­ing steps and the for­ma­tion of a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ing body, a UN source said.

The Swedish hosts called for con­struc­tive talks to end what For­eign Min­is­ter Mar­got Wall­strom called a “catas­tro­phe”.

Grif­fiths wants a deal on re­open­ing Sana’a air­port, shoring up the cen­tral bank and se­cur­ing a truce in Hodei­dah, the coun­try’s main port, which is held by the Houthis.

This could lead to a wider cease­fire to halt coali­tion air strikes that have killed thou­sands of civil­ians, and Houthi mis­sile at­tacks on Saudi cities. 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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