Monday, December 03, 2018

U.S., China agree to trade-war truce, but Chinese traders say tariffs need to drop before they buy more U.S. goods

At the Group of 20 meeting in Argentina on Saturday, "President Trump agreed to hold off on a plan to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Jan. 1, while President Xi Jinping of China agreed to an an unspecified increase in their purchases of American industrial, energy and agricultural products, which Beijing hit with retaliatory tariffs after Mr. Trump targeted everything from steel to consumer electronics," Mark Landler reports for The New York Times. "The two also set the stage for more painstaking negotiations to resolve deeply rooted differences over trade."

That could boost agricultural sales to China if the deal works out in time, helping U.S. farmers who have been hurt by tariffs on soybeans, corn, and other crops. "Trump is now under the gun to force China to make structural changes on long-standing disputes like forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft," Ryan McCrimmon reports for Politico. "The U.S. is seeking resolution on key issues within 90 days, or else Trump is in position to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. (That increase was scheduled for January, but Trump agreed to hold off on it — as well as imposing new tariffs on another $267 billion of Chinese products — as part of the short-term deal.)"

Since tariffs on crops like soybeans are still in place, Chinese traders are waiting for action on tariffs to return to U.S. markets, Halli Gu and Dominique Patton report for Reuters: "No substantial purchases can happen with a 25 percent duty still in place on U.S. soybeans, corn, sorghum and wheat, said buyers and analysts."

Xi also agreed to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance and to crack down on illicit shipments of the deadly opioid, Landler reports.

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