China trade team still going for talks despite Trump cranking up pressure


Trump

BEIJING: China said that a delegation is still preparing to go to the United States for trade talks, after US President Donald Trump dramatically increased pressure on Beijing to reach a deal, saying he would hike tariffs on Chinese goods this week.

Trump’s comments on Sunday marked a major escalation in tensions between the world’s largest economies, and a shift in tone from the president, who as recently as last Friday had cited progress toward a deal.

Stock markets sank and oil prices tumbled on his remarks, as negotiations to end the months-long trade war were thrown into doubt.

“We are also in the process of understanding the relevant situation. What I can tell you is that China’s team is preparing to go to the United States for the discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing.

But Geng did not say if Vice-Premier Liu He, who is China’s lead official in the negotiations, was to be part of the delegation as originally planned.

“What is of vital importance is that we still hope the United States can work hard with China to meet each other half way, and strive to reach a mutually beneficial, win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect,” Geng said.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that China was considering cancelling this week’s meetings in Washington in light of Trump’s comments, which took Chinese officials by surprise.

A less than rosy update from US. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, including details that China was pulling back from some previous commitments, prompted Trump’s decision.

“The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” Trump said in a tweet.

Trump said tariffs on $200 billion of goods would increase to 25 percent on Friday from 10 percent, reversing a decision he made in February to keep them at the 10 percent rate thanks to progress between the two sides.

The president also said he would target a further US$325bil of Chinese goods with 25% tariffs “shortly,” essentially covering all products imported to the United States from China.

US officials did not weigh in on whether they expected talks to go ahead this week. The White House and the US Trade Representative’s Office declined to comment. China’s commerce ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The atmosphere of the negotiations has changed,” said a Chinese official with knowledge of the situation.

Whether the talks proceed and how they proceed are issues that are now being re-evaluated, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“All that depends on the attitude of the United States,” the official said.

Chinese media outlets have been told not to independently report on Trump’s tweets, and instead adhere to any report from the official Xinhua news agency, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

Global financial markets, which had been expecting news of a trade deal soon, went into a tailspin. US equity futures fell more than 2% and stocks across trade-reliant Asia tumbled, with China’s main indexes plunging 5%.

“There is still a question of whether this is one of the famous Trump negotiation tactics, or are we really going to see some drastic increase in tariffs,” said Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia. “If it’s the latter, we’ll see massive downside pressure across all markets.”

Mindful of his 2020 re-election bid, Trump had also suggested the duties were not leading to price increases for US consumers. “The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China,” he tweeted. — Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Trump , Xi , US , China , tensions , trade , talks , pressure ,

   

Next In Business News

Oil hits US$68 on Libya force majeure, although pandemic surge weighs
FBM KLCI rebounds, gains 7.28 points
DBS, StanChart among potential bidders for Citi's Asia consumer business
Indonesia's central bank keeps interest rates steady
Petronas Gas allocates capex up to RM1.3bil in FY21
UK unemployment falls again under government's jobs shield
Maybank Islamic provides food aid in 11 countries in conjunction with ramadan
EPF: Members will continue to earn dividends up to age 100
FBM KLCI retraces earlier losses at midday
Japanese shares slump as virus surge stokes slowdown worries

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers