G-20 Summit Talks Thaw Stalemate In U.S., Chinese Trade Dispute

The U.S-China trade war appears to be on pause. Following a meeting on Saturday in Osaka, Japan, during the G-20 conference, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to restart talks on trade issues, and the U.S. has suspended plans to apply tariffs to a further $300 billion in Chinese imports. Existing tariffs of 25 percent on approximately $250 billion in Chinese imports will remain in place.

Details of the arrangement between the two heads of state have not been released, although in a press conference following the summit, President Trump told reporters that U.S. companies would be allowed to resume selling to Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which had been banned from buying U.S. parts and components last month by the Commerce Department. In turn, the Chinese would purchase a “tremendous amount” of U.S. agricultural products.

So far, the two countries have gone through 11 rounds of trade negotiations. The most recent round, in May, fell apart when Chinese negotiators rejected certain provisions in a draft of a deal which called for their country’s government to amend certain laws. The amendments had been proposed by the U.S. to insure the negotiators’ promises would be upheld by Chinese government agencies.

Whether this rapprochement will lead to an end of the trade dispute is uncertain. A similar truce had been called following the G-20 Summit held last December in Argentina. Observers are largely skeptical, with many noting that despite the pause, no clear path to a deal has emerged. Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, for example, estimates a 45 percent chance a deal is reached this year.

And China is not the only trade dispute the U.S. is engaged in. On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced tariffs on a further $4 billion in European Union imports—ranging from meat and cheese to whiskey—in a long-running conflict regarding Boeing and Airbus aircraft, in which both sides accuse the other of unfair subsidies.

filed under July 2019 | Tariffs
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