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