Published: Sun, December 02, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

U.S., China agree to 90-day trade ceasefire at G20

U.S., China agree to 90-day trade ceasefire at G20

In exchange, the USA wants an immediate start to talks on Trump's biggest complaints about Chinese trade practices: intellectual property theft, non-tariff barriers and cyber theft.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump reached important consensus Saturday night at their working dinner, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Trump has imposed tariffs on US$250 billion in Chinese products. The leaders finished their talks after about 2-1/2 hours and Trump departed for his scheduled flight back to Washington.

Trump told Xi at the start of the meeting he hoped they would achieve "something great" on trade for both countries. China will be opening up, China will be getting rid of tariffs. "The system is now falling short of its objectives and there is room for improvement", the declaration added, calling for further reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Before the meeting, the US President was optimistic.

During the G20, emerging economies denounced protectionism.

The leader of communist China has in turn cast himself as a defender of stable global capitalism.

At the same time, USA farmers have been hurt by reduced Chinese imports of soybeans and other products.

"China will continue to deepen market-oriented reform, protect property rights and intellectual property rights, encourage fair competition and do more to expand imports", he said.

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"China and the United States are two important countries with major influence in the world and shoulder important responsibilities for worldwide peace and prosperity", he said. "Both sides avoided the worst-case scenario".

He said: "The relationship is very special".

A final communique adopted after all-night haggling in the summit in Argentina said all other G20 members agreed to implement the "irreversible" Paris Agreement on climate change, while respecting different paces of economic development.

But it said the "United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement", mirroring the divergence seen past year when Trump shocked the global community by bucking the consensus at his first G20.

With Trump feuding with close USA allies, not least on climate change, two major summits this year ended without once-routine statements - those of the Group of Seven democracies and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

President Trump also said he would shortly be providing formal notice to Congress that he will terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving lawmakers six months to approve the replacement he signed Friday.

Trump has chose to pull the United States from the Paris accord on curbing carbon emissions, despite mounting warnings from scientists leading up to a UN climate summit starting next week in Poland.

Trump called off talks with Putin at the G20 summit, officially due to outrage over Moscow's naval skirmishes with Ukraine.

"He may not be a friend of mine anymore but I think he probably respects me", Trump said in September.

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