Trump is leading USA trade negotiations with China: Mnuchin

Muriel Colon
December 5, 2018

Central to the deal was an agreement between President Trump and China's President Xi Jinping to not increase tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks.

Already there was confusion over when the 90-day period would start. "Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina", Trump tweeted. President Xi Jinping and his most senior officials, including the commerce minister and the country's two top diplomats, are in Portugal, and due back in China on Thursday.

If it doesn't? 'I'm a Tariff Man, ' he tweeted.

Trump said he and Xi "are the only two people that can bring about massive and very positive change, on trade and far beyond, between our two great Nations". White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the figure was a broad benchmark that would depend on private transactions for USA goods and was subject to market conditions.

However, Chinese attacks on U.S. companies ratcheted up again when the U.S. first implemented trade tariffs in July 2018. Trump said that he would "happily" sign a fair deal with China but also left open the possibility that the talks will fail. Let the negotiations begin.

The leaders of the world's largest trading partners struck a temporary truce on Saturday at a dinner in Buenos Aires, with Trump agreeing to maintain the 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and to defer his original January 1 deadline for raising them further.

Jonathan Gold, an executive at the federation, said most retailers had already ordered goods for the first three months of the year, so the 90-day delay in the tariff hikes won't affect them.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that a reduction in Chinese tariffs on USA cars and agricultural and energy commodities would be a "litmus test" for whether U.S.

The Trump administration is celebrating the 90-day truce it reached in its trade war with China as a significant breakthrough despite scant details, a hazy timetable and widespread skepticism that Beijing will yield to USA demands anytime soon. "Bob Lighthizer will be working closely with Steve Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro. on seeing whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible", Trump wrote in part of a four-tweet message.

In return for the postponement in the higher US tariffs, China agreed to step up its purchases of USA farm, energy and industrial goods, the White House said.

"I've never heard that "immediately" commitment before", Kudlow said.

The two countries issued wildly different statements, and Trump administration officials have offered changing accounts of the deal's details in the days since the meeting.

On Monday, Kudlow said there was an "assumption" that China would eliminate auto tariffs, not a specific agreement.

That was fast. Wall Street's enthusiasm for the US-China trade truce has completely vanished. The Trump administration has added tariffs on to $250 billion of Chinese imports and Beijing has retaliated with $110 billion in new tariffs on US goods.

And that person is President Trump.

There was confusion over China's "agreement" to immediately buy large volumes of United States goods, particularly agricultural commodities.

In the past 24 hours, there were signs that White House officials were beginning to backpedal from some of their initial optimism.

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