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White House presses German automakers to expand U.S. investments

07 December, 2018, 00:14 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Shanghai skyline at night. Source Shutterstock

"Not to sound naive or anything", he added, "but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting".

China expressed confidence on Wednesday that it can reach a trade deal with the United States, a sentiment echoed by Mr Trump a day after he warned of more tariffs if the two sides could not resolve their differences.

But the mood has quickly soured on scepticism that the two sides will be able to reach a substantive deal on a host of highly divisive issues within the tight negotiating window.

US President Donald Trump threatened on Friday (22 June) to impose a 20% import tariff on all cars manufactured in the European Union if recent sanctions the bloc slapped on Washington are not "broken down and removed", continuing the tit for tat trade war with America's nominal allies.

But as part of the truce agreed to by Mr Xi and Mr Trump, the U.S. will not raise tariffs further on Jan 1, so further talks can take place.

"We expect the relationship between the world's two largest economies to remain contentious", Moody's Investors Service said in a report.

Only a day after this truce was stuck, Trump took to Twitter and sowed confusion over his real intentions, tweeting, "I am a Tariff Man". Even before the Buenos Aires talks, Trump last month had stated incorrectly that the Chinese government "got rid of" the Made-in-China 2025 programme of subsidised technology development in response to his objections.

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.


Also, China's commerce ministry made no mention of the vehicle tariff cuts which Mr Trump said earlier this week China had agreed to. On a deeper level, however, the truce is between competing factions within the Trump administration that disagree fundamentally over how to pursue relations with China.

Mr. Trump said he agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the outline for a trade agreement during dinner Saturday night at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.

Washington also expects China to promptly address structural issues including intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, U.S. officials have said.

Trump also warned this week of more tariffs if the two sides could not resolve their differences. This would have raised prices in the United States on many consumer items, including smartphones, clothes and toys.

What's more, it only took a few days before Trump he began threatening Beijing again. "When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so", he added.

He also said that China's vice premier, Liu He, had told him there would be changes made "immediately" to show the Chinese were serious about a new agreement.

"The ultimate goal for the 90 days of talks is to remove all the increased tariffs", Gao said.

Though a confirmation of a 90-day time frame is reassuring (though China did not specify when it thinks the clock started ticking), we can still not be sure that Beijing has the same "agreed-upon consensus" in mind as Washington.

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