Trump, Commerce Secretary Send Signal That China Deal Can Wait

Daniel Fowler
December 4, 2019

Hua said China would set no timeline or deadline for a trade deal and would take "decisive" countermeasures to defend its interests if what she called USA protectionism and bullying over trade continued. "But they want to make a deal now, and we'll see whether or not the deal's going to be right", Trump told reporters in London on Tuesday, triggering a sharp fall in stocks and a flight to government bonds.

"Any doubts about the vulnerability of equity markets to the mood of the U.S. President should have been dispelled, as his recent tweets and comments have almost wiped out the entirety of November's gains", said Ian Williams, economics & strategy analyst at Peel Hunt.

Trump's comments came as sources in Beijing and Washington who are familiar with the talks said that the two countries have made progress, but are still wrangling over whether existing U.S. tariffs will be removed and over specific levels of Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products as part of a "phase one" trade deal.

China reported its slowest economic growth in 27 years in October as the trade tensions with the U.S. hit its manufacturing sector.

"What President Trump envisions with tariffs is a means to an end, and the end ... is free trade", he said.

"U.S. Markets are up as much as 21% since the announcement of Tariffs on 3/1/2018 - and the U.S.is taking in massive amounts of money (and giving some to our farmers, who have been targeted by China)!"

Businesses wary of criticising Modi govt
The audience included Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman among others. Despite the initiatives, the downward spiral in the Indian economy continues.

"So that's only a technical issue", Ross said on CNBC on Tuesday.

"I'm doing very well, if I want to make a deal, I don't know that I want to make it, they're going to find out pretty soon". US negotiators still expect a phase one deal to be reached before the tariff increase.

"All of these things are affecting the Trump administration's credibility, but both sides have credibility problems", said Scott Kennedy, a China economics expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Last week, Trump signed a bill that would require the USA placing sanctions on Chinese officials linked to human rights abuses in Hong Kong. A report from Chinese state media earlier had indicated the government would soon publish a list of "unreliable entities" if the Xinjiang bill passes that could lead to sanctions against US companies. In a more anticipated move, the U.S. Trade Representative later in the day announced plans for tariffs on US$2.4 billion of imports from France as retaliation for a new tax that hits American tech companies. "We will make a lot of progress", he said.

White House officials have said repeatedly that an initial deal is nearly done and people close to the talks reinforce that. "We'll see what happens".

When asked whether the crisis in Hong Kong and the persecution of Muslim minorities in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang will be addressed as part of the trade deal, Pence told Fox Business that United States had spoken out clearly with respect to these two issues.

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