‘BIG leap forward,’ says Donald Trump on US-China relations

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with members of their delegations holding a dinner meeting at the end of the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires on Dec 1 2018

After Trump and Xi dined together Saturday night in Argentina, the White House announced a 90-day cease-fire in the ongoing trade war.

Following the Trump-Xi talks, which took place over dinner at the end of the G20 summit, Washington agreed to hold off on Trump's threat to impose 25 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from December 1, leaving them at the current 10 per cent rate.

But Asia failed to follow the lead to the same extent after China gave its first official comments on the temporary trade truce which allowed for tariff hikes to be postponed for 90 days- until 1 April.

The two sides also agreed to negotiate during the next 90 days over "structural changes" to China's policies on technology transfers, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and other administration officials met individually with executives from each of the automakers.

Peter Navarro, the president's top trade adviser, expressed confidence in the president's trade strategy.

Trump has exaggerated the effect of the tariffs on USA revenue. "Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward!"

According to a White House press release, for a 90-day period, the US will maintain the 10 percent tariffs on its list of $200 billion in Chinese imports, postponing an anticipated January 1, 2019, increase in duty levels.

"We'll see", Kudlow said.

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A USA government official briefed on the matter said yesterday the administration was not expected to move forward with new tariffs on imported vehicles immediately. China gets a delay on additional tariffs, while the USA gets greater purchases of agriculture goods while retaining leverage to push for more structural changes to the economy.

"Very good things will happen".

A USA government official briefed on the matter told Reuters on Monday that no final report on the investigation is expected for at least a couple of weeks.

Chinese purchases for the aforementioned products have almost completely halted after Beijing imposed tariffs on them in response to the US tariffs on Chinese goods.

The meeting was the first face-to-face encounter between the leaders in more than a year, a period that saw the Trump administration impose tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports in a bid to force Beijing to halt trade practices the USA considers unfair.

"We anticipate a similar outcome in the US-China case; without any firm commitments from the Chinese on larger intellectual property or other issues, Trump will likely return to threatening tariffs when he fails to get what he wants in the next three months", Allen wrote.

Trump added that a 90-day timetable for negotiators to reach a deeper agreement had begun and that his aides would see "whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible".

The president, China's most powerful leader since at least the 1980s, flew from Argentina to Panama for an official visit and on Wednesday was in Portugal.

The lower tariffs would be a boost to automakers exporting vehicles to China, including Ford and German carmaker BMW, which exports US -built luxury vehicles to China.

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