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Trump inclined to extend truce deadline, will meet Xi soon

25 February 2019

The U.S. and China will extend into the weekend the current round of trade talks as negotiations in Washington yielded progress on currency policy but stopped short of a breakthrough that would prevent higher American tariffs from kicking in next week. The White House had announced February 15 that the two sides were negotiating several "memoranda of understanding".

An industry source briefed on the talks said both sides have narrowed differences on intellectual property rights, market access and narrowing a almost US$400 billion USA trade deficit with China.

Separately, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said a Chinese delegation led by Liu on Friday committed to buy an additional 10 million tons of American soybeans as part of an effort to reduce the massive U.S. trade deficit with China. The Chinese president said that the China-U.S. trade talks have achieved good progress recently, and received positive responses from both sides as well as the global community.

Trump noted that the US-China relationship has been "very good" and that "great progress" is being made in the past two days of negotiations.

We recently got trade figures from November, which showed that the president's China tariffs are costing north of $2 billion a month even at the 10 percent level.

Perdue has overseen $12 billion in federal aid to USA farmers for losses they have sustained because of the trade war.

Trump said "the biggest decisions and some even smaller decisions" will be made directly between him and Xi, but ongoing trade talks "are going along well".

The two sides have reached a deal on currency manipulation, one of the major pillars of the envisaged deal, according to the president. There were reports past year that the Trump administration considered developing its own nationally-run 5G service, mainly out of concern that "China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure".

Lighthizer, who was sitting with other members of Trump's negotiating team including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, explained that writing MOUs was a standard procedure in forming trade agreements.

Liu, speaking through a translator, said, "We believe it is very likely that it will happen". The tariffs have weighed heavily on both countries' manufacturing sectors and raised concern they could exacerbate the global economic slowdown.

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Trump noted that the U.S. Through it all, he has pushed the limits of USA trade law to favour domestic companies over foreign rivals. "It goes to a 25 per cent number so we would be getting 25 per cent on $250 billion and there's about $267 billion that's untouched which we discuss later", Trump said.

Earlier in the day, Trump took to Twitter to announce that China has committed to buy an additional 10 million metric tonnes of United States soybeans.

China's retaliation has hit United States farm exports hard.

"In Oval Office meeting today, the Chinese committed to buy an additional 10 million metric tonnes of United States soybeans".

The reason why 5G is so critical is that a large number of the technologies and industry in the 21st century will be dependent on 5G: "smart roads, driverless vehicles, the Internet of things, additive manufacturing where you can make things through 3D printing", Rubio said.

Lighthizer calmly corrected the president, and turned to explain to reporters in the room: "An MOU is a contract".

The U.S. -China conflict has rattled markets. The White House has complained that Beijing has failed to follow through on its pledges to carry out reforms under previous administrations.

The Chinese economy, in particular, is decelerating: The IMF expects China to record 6.2 per cent growth this year, down from 6.6 per cent in 2018. They would prefer to leverage US economic strength in bilateral negotiations, rather than through worldwide co-operation. Notable gaps remain over Trump's demand for far-reaching changes in China's compulsory technology transfer requirements for foreign companies and its subsidies for state-owned enterprises.

He said the Chamber wants to see an end to the tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing. Brilliant said the trade dispute between the two superpowers has increased business costs, which will continue to mount as long as tariffs are in effect. The Chinese, he said, have "got to deliver the goods".

Trump inclined to extend truce deadline, will meet Xi soon