Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Partial US-China trade deal only 'baby step' as thorny issues remain

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City Donald Trump to meet with China’s top trade negotiator
Steven Clarke | 12 October, 2019, 16:52

Shortly after the US cash market opening on Thursday, President Donald Trump said he's meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday, fueling optimism about a positive outcome from this week's high-level trade talks.

The president previously said he wanted to strike one, big deal with China, though on Friday he said it makes sense to handle such a major pact in sections.

Mr. Trump said they made progress on technology transfers and will deal with it partially in phase one.

The president said the highest amount of agricultural products Beijing ever purchased from the U.S.in a year was $16 billion.

The current agreement - not yet finalized on paper - covers intellectual property, financial services and China's commitment to purchase up to $50 billion worth of USA farm products.

Trump said China had pledge to rapidly ramp up purchases of American farm products, to US$40-50 billion (RM167-209 billion).

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Washington will not impose the tariff increase on US$250 billion in Chinese goods, which were set to rise to 30 per cent from 25 per cent on Tuesday next week.

The partial accord, covering agriculture, currency and some aspects of intellectual property protections, represented the biggest step toward resolution of a 15-month tariff war between the world's two largest economies that has hit financial markets and slowed global growth.

Stocks on Wall Street rose substantially on positive trade developments Friday, but the market pared some of its gains late in the day when the details emerged.

The Dow industrials closed up 319.92 points, or 1.2%, to 26816.59. Phase two negotiations are expected to begin immediately after the first piece is signed.

Trump's European Union ambassador to testify after Democrats' subpoena
Yovanovitch did not respond to TIME's request for comment, and has shunned the news media as the Ukraine scandal has escalated. A whistleblower complaint about Trump's involvement with Ukraine has led to an impeachment investigation.

The announcement is a sharp turn from several weeks ago, when the president - angry over China's retaliatory tariffs - demanded that American companies stop doing business with China and threatened to tax every toy, shoe and computer from Beijing before the year's end.

Stocks were sharply higher across the board.

In a Friday letter sent to US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping asked that the two nations "work together to manage differences on the basis of mutual respect".

"We've been in similar situations before, with some kind of trade agreement seemingly at hand, but then the talks collapse", said Geraghty.

The trade war between the world's two largest economies - China and the United States - has rattled global financial markets.

With today's deal, the administration is "trying to essentially continue to portray confidence to the market", said Robert Spalding, China expert and author of the book "Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite Slept".

Over the past year and a half, the USA and China have imposed new duties on billions of dollars in imports coming from either country.

China will continue to increase purchases of United States farm exports and pledge to refrain from currency manipulation while Washington will suspend a tariff increase, Bloomberg reported.

The US commerce department said last week it will blacklist 28 Chinese entities it says are implicated in rights violations and abuses in China's Xinjiang region. Comments expressing support for protests in Hong Kong from the general manager for the NBA's Houston Rockets had also prompted an angry response from Chinese state-run news outlets, though The New York Times reported on Thursday that the government was seeking to quell public unrest.

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