Trump meets with German auto execs, tweets 'I am a Tariff Man'

Gladys Abbott
December 6, 2018

China's Commerce Ministry did say on its website that it would begin "implementing specific issues on which consensus has been reached", but the vague statement included no details.

President Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to slap more tariffs on China if efforts to strike a trade deal with Beijing crumble.

"Very strong signals being sent by China once they returned home from their long trip, including stops, from Argentina", Trump said, speaking of China's attendance at the G-20 summit last weekend.

Trump, via Twitter, held out the possibility of an extension of the ceasefire but warned tariffs would be back on the table if the talks failed to bear fruit.

China could be preparing to spring a global compact to drive tariffs to zero, and approach Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members including Australia for access to the grouping, positioning Beijing as a champion for free trade.

Trump sowed more confusion as he opened the door to lengthier negotiations with China, suggesting that they could extend beyond a 90-day deadline to reach a deal to avoid a massive tariff increase.

Noting the applause at the end of Xi-Trump summit, Mr Geng asked: "I don't know (what) people clapping at that time now mean by saying this type of thing".

Failure would raise the specter of a major escalation in the trade battle, with fresh USA tariff action and Chinese retaliation possibly as early as March.

Trump again claimed Tuesday that more tariffs on China would actually help the U.S. He contended that he has made China "pay for the privilege" of raiding "the great wealth of our Nation".

A Chinese official told Reuters officials were "waiting for the leaders to return" before publicizing details.

Instead, the two sides are to negotiate over USA complaints about China's trade practices, notably that it has used predatory tactics to try to achieve supremacy in technology.

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Beijing has tried without success to recruit Europe, South Korea and other countries as allies against Trump.

Sources told Reuters that Chinese oil trader Unipec plans to resume buying USA crude by March after the Xi-Trump deal reduced the risk of tariffs on those imports.

He told reporters that China had said it was willing to "expand imports according to the needs of its domestic market and people, including importing marketable products from the U.S. to gradually ease the trade imbalances", adding that both sides had agreed to open their markets to each other.

"Narrow agreements and modest concessions in the ongoing trade dispute will not bridge the wide gulf in their respective economic, political and strategic interests".

Beijing pledged to import more USA products to narrow its massive trade surplus with the USA following the Argentina talks, but it has given few details about what was agreed.

"I don't think this meeting or anything else for that matter, right now, is moving toward vehicle tariffs", Kudlow told reporters Monday.

The United States also expects China to promptly address structural issues, including intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said that China had agreed to buy US$1.2 trillion of American products, but he could not offer specifics.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs worth a further $US200 billion on Chinese imports unless China makes it easier for USA companies to do business there.

The White House on Monday had to correct a statement by economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who incorrectly told reporters in a conference call that the 90-day negotiating period between the USA and China would begin on January 1 instead of December 1.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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